the old culture from balinese and all i know will show in this blog

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The Bali Rites of Passage

The Balinese believe that the individual soul is reincarnated into many lifetimes, until through numerous struggles and stages it achieves union with the divine,. It is the duty of every Balinese to have children, to provide a vessel for his ancestor’s spirits to be reincarnated in. A man does not become a full members of his banjar until he is a father. Children are loved and highly prized in Bali, especially male children, as they carry the blood line of the family and also look after the burial and cremation of their parents. As each lifetime is regarded as a passage from one state to another, so also there are critical stages during life where an important passage occurs leading toward adulthood. It is the duty of family and friends to help each child through these passages. The rites of passage begin while the baby is still in the womb. A pregnant woman is “sebel”, and is not permitted to enter a temple. After a safe delivery, the afterbirth is buried under a stone in the family compound. The afterbirth becomes the “Kanda Empat”. It finds a spiritual brother in each of the four cardinal directions to accompany the child at 12 days, 42 days, and again at 105 days when the child is for the first time placed, of rather planted, on the ground. Ibu Pertiwi (mother earth) is asked to look after this young offering. Before this ceremony the child is hardly regarded as a human being. At 210 days, (one Balinese year), the child is given its name. A Balinese child is never allowed to crawl, as this is regarded as animalistic. He is carried everywhere until he learns to stand and walk. The passage into puberty is celebrated for both males and females. A girl first menses is celebrated, and then the rite of tooth filing for girl and boys. This ceremony must be carried out before marriage; often it is incorporated into the marriage ceremony. The canine teeth, which the Balinese regard as animalistic fangs, are filed flat. This represents the evening out of the more extreme aspects of one’s personality as one enters adulthood. After the tooth-filing a father’s duties to his female children are generally regarded as being completed. For a son, the father must finance and conduct the marriage ceremony, welcoming the bride as a new daughter into the family. The new bride leaves her old ties behind and takes over her new family and their ancestors spirits. Many Balinese marriages are pre-arranged, though young men increasingly prefer to “kidnap” their wives, and mixed-caste marriages are more common now.