Lush green fields stretching endlessly into the distance; rain-stained streets slick from the onslaught of two-passenger scooters transporting families of five; and temples dotted with green moss that were scattered and plentiful… that was the backdrop of Bali during my nine-day trip.
As the minivan of my tour maneuvered through thick traffic and Bali roadsides, I witnessed, from my car seat, cultural traditions practiced at random by locals – draped in white cloth adorned with gold scarves – carrying small plates filled with floral and edible offerings to place upon their family’s shrine. This was the two-folded reality of Bali – a society transfixed in past and present.
But those moments were mere glimpses in the everyday life of Balinese people. Fortunately, I spent the final two days in Bali in a rented room at a villager’s home near Ubud. I was lucky enough to be visiting during a time of celebration, and got all of the authentic culture one could ask for. Needless to say, I was privileged to be a guest in their village at the time.
Take a journey through my photos, and witness for yourself the intimate portraits of Balinese culture.
The following day, the locals continued the celebrations with a march around their village. Although I was unclear on what the ceremony was for specifically, the gist of it was that they were honoring and paying respects to their religion – this was a way to show gratitude for their life, family and fortune, however big or small. My host, Wayan – which means first born – explained to me that it took them two to three months to prepare, and the traditional garments worn cost approximately $100 per person, which is a hefty setback in Bali. “We do it every few years or so, when we can afford it,” one of the villagers told me during the march.
All of the different colors and garb worn represents the different tribes and families of the village.
This was interesting to watch. This piece of fruit was one of several that the men were dragging on the streets (in an earlier picture, above), and when it broke open, they all ate pieces of the fruit. My host and I got separated during the march, as he was taking photos of the event as well, so I didn’t have him there to explain the traditions to me.