Why most of Indonesia is Muslim, Bali is unique in that most of its local people are Hindu. However, you may notice that Hinduism in Bali is not quite the same as Hinduism in India and other parts of the world; you can see the stark differences even in the architecture of Bali’s temples. This is because the practices of Balinese people, while strongly influenced by Hinduism, are also influenced by animism, local traditions, as well as Buddhism. This results in a unique type of Hinduism that cannot be found outside of Bali, and that is part of Bali’s fascinating culture.
That being said, some core Hindu beliefs remain the same in Bali. Balinese people believe in a Supreme Being that manifests as Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver), and Shiva (the destroyer), something of the Holy Trinity in Hinduism that helps maintain order in our cosmos. They also believe in the law of karma, moksha (liberation), as well as reincarnation within one’s ancestry.
The usual introduction to Balinese culture for most tourists is Balinese dances; these elegant, whole-body dances open leave audiences enthralled and excited. This is why these dances are not to be missed; it is an essential part of your Bali tourism experience. Club Med Bali has a dance-focused excursion as well; join our Uluwatu temple excursion to enjoy a sacred but entertaining dance in the evening.
Back to the topic at hand though! While Balinese dances are often part of a tourist’s experience, that does not mean all the dances are the same. There are mainly three types of Balinese dances, as explained below:
Wali dances: These are the most sacred types of dances, done not for entertainment reasons but more to make contact with spiritual deities. These dances are considered an offering to different entities, in exchange for things like counteracting negative forces, protection, or strength. Wali dances are usually performed on the inner courts of Bali’s temples.
Bebali dances: These dances are not purely entertainment, but not purely sacred either. Therefore, they fall in between Wali and Balih-balihan dances. Instead of making contact with deities, these dances are done to entertain deities as well as devotees (and in ancient times, royalty).
Balih-balihan dances: Secular dances meant for the entertainment of the masses, this type of dance is often done in the outer courts of Bali’s temples or outside the temples. The popular Barong ket dance falls under this category.
Regardless of the type of Balinese dance, they are all fantastic to watch. Dancers elegantly move their whole body to the beat of the music, and a lot of the time, the dance portrays a story that invokes emotion in the audience. It’s no surprise then that Balinese dances are one of the things that fascinate others about their culture.
The Balinese people are always warm, friendly, and seem to carry a sense of peace to them; this is part of the reason Bali tourism is so popular. Their culture of being hospitable, kind, and helpful goes a long way in charming those who come to visit the island, and makes navigating a person’s holiday there all the more pleasurable. Due to their connection to traditional practices, the Balinese’s daily life is heavily influenced by spirituality, be it in their massages, prayers, shamanic practices, jobs, and so on. They are very proud of this heritage too; speak to any local Balinese and they’d be happy to share more about their beliefs and daily practices.
If you are ready to experience Balinese culture yourself, why not make a booking to stay at our Club Med Bali resort? Be pampered with an all-inclusive stay, and join our various activities and excursions to immerse yourself in the beautiful culture of the island!