Balinese Culture at Glance

Updated: 1 year ago

Bali is a small island, the pearl of Indonesian archipelago. Today, Bali is over known as a tourist destination. Visitors are might come for a beautiful weather and lustful sceneries. However, Bali is beyond than only a lovely place to visit. Its culture is matchless. The followings are first step to take count of it.

?1 Language

The language is so-called Bahasa Bali mainly divided into two forms, which are Kepara and Alus. The use of each form is quite complex and really depended on context of situation. Kepara is spoken mostly among close friends; and Alus is a polite language that is addressed to unrecognized and/or honored person, acquaintances, family and elders. Bahasa Bali has behavior of being polite in most occasions, somehow, in one or two regions the use of Kepara is showing a closer boundary and equality. Previously, Bahasa Bali was only written in Aksara or symbols. However, since the national language is using Latin alphabets, Bahasa Bali also has been adapting its written form. Today both Aksara and Latin forms are contextually being used.

?2 Knowledge System

It had been predicted by philosophers that the knowledge would be smoothly shifted from Mythos to Logos. While occidental knowledge has transformed more into Logos or logic, in Bali people still live with their local myths. The effort of seize the balance between myth and logic is perpetually being the mechanism of their knowledge system. Balinese have their capability of filtering knowledge and turn it based on local concepts. Today with the gross influences of modern knowledge, the effort of balancing is even more fervent.

?3 Social system and organization

Balinese social system is based of communal system. Man is always responsible of his community, from the smallest unit as family to a larger unit as Banjar, Desa Pakraman, and so on. The social unit is a form of organization. Every single person is being responsible of their community. Although it has interrupted by the modern life style, somehow, tradition bounds the people to at least taking part of celebrations. In Bali, life is celebration. Moments are coined by their togetherness in perpetual celebrations and rituals. Therefore, there is always an opportunity to socialize oneself, of course with responsibility.

?4 Technology

Technology is also part of the culture. Consummation of modern technology somehow had brought an intensive change to what Balinese believe as technology. Meanwhile, the traditional technology is being considered as the heritage, however, Balinese always being open to what has been going in the bigger world. They have the capability of absorbing and even barely seen as involution. Technology gives opportunity to any kind of developments. Although it is difficult to see a wiser side of technology, however many efforts were shown physically on infrastructures and life-styles. Technology has brought the new color, and it gives more celebrations.

?5 Occupations

Balinese were started with agriculture and it is still on. We could not denied that everyone is a farmer of their ‘field’. Modern programmers even said any system would contain at least input, process, and output. Input is considered as planting season or investment; process is the mechanisms; and output is the cultivation. In Balinese type agriculture, cultivation is followed by gratefulness and celebration. When tourism is said as the most preferable field, it is whatsoever a farming too. What has been attracting people to come to Bali is never far from their occupation as farmers. As the life system has been identified globally, modern occupations today requires such as professional paid-education system. Today many of Balinese offered to claim one of the introduced-occupations. As the global system would always perceived as introductionary, most of Balinese rarely reach the top positions. However, in the sake of agriculture they would never be fieldless.

?6 Religion

Bali is an island part of Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia. Indonesia was constituted base on principle of unity in diversity. There are six counted religions that are recognized by the Indonesian authority, they are Islam, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddha, and Khonghucu. While the majority of the country is Islam, particularly Bali has the majority of Hindu. Religion in Bali is matter of personal. Although people try to identify Bali as Hindu, or in more specific is Hindu Dharma, somehow the religion is always being adapted with the local condition. Religion in Bali is summation of many beliefs including the ancient pre-religion that is known as Pagan or animism. Essentially, religion is not being hold but growing within the time. The God, spirits, symbols, and myths are personificated in many ways and by various authors. The presentation of religion is delivered orally by storytelling and visually by many kind of performances such as dances, dramas, and puppet shows. The bible is based on appreciation.

?7 Arts

The arts in Bali has been latched to their life. Things are carved by their artistic sight. In Bali the arts are fostered in intangible and tangible form. It is derived from the concept of grateful celebration. Arts were designed by such passion of presenting offerings to The King of universe. Based on gratefulness, each of Balinese try to present their offerings in their own ways. Offerings are presented by the principle of so-called ‘take and give’, and most of the time it is believed that ‘give’ comes first before ‘take’. Arts were born in the way of giving offerings. To do so, Balinese realizing their gift in many forms based on their interests. They are dancing, chanting, playing instrumental, carving, painting, crafting, and doing other unlimited ways just for being grateful of life that they are living. Since the beginning of tourism, those forms of art were discovered by visitors as treasure. The demand of Balinese arts in commercial way had emerged by tourism industry. Nowadays, arts are growing fertile overlapping with the tourism industry. The forms of art in Bali are countless. The only way to comprehend Balinese arts is to sense them by an experience.


By understanding the aspects of Balinese culture as mentioned above, hopefully would help you to reconcept your holiday in Bali. There are much more to explore in this tiny island. Cheers!

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