From festive funerals to parades of giants and everything in between, ceremonies/odalan are part of Balinese life, the way the celebrate life and spiritual harmony.
There are rituals for birthdays, puberty, weddings, harvesting day, full-moons, almost everything.
From small to large scale ceremonies, it's almost everyday we see the Balinese preparing the event. Colorful fruits and traditional cakes are stacked and carried by the women as offerings, and the complexity of offerings depends on the Balinese social status and wealth.
They value this rituals almost above everything, sometimes "sacrificing" the money saved for their children's school or other daily needs, all in the name of maintaining the spiritual life harmony.
For some tourists, attending such ceremonies means preparing ahead, timing the schedule and making arrangements, for example joining a temple ceremony, New Year’s eve and others. There are some events that may take you by chance too, since there are many public celebrations you can attend, such as Galungan, Melasti or Bali Purification sometime in the week of Nyepi or the teeth-cutting ceremony, a coming-of-age celebration for the boys and girls.
Whether an arranged one or by coincidence, the best tips to remember is try to be a good sports. This means that you may have to wear appropriate garments, usually provided, such as warong and sash. Do not try to impose or get too near the main attractions, and generally just be polite and mindful of your surroundings.
And when you do find yourself in the midst of this sacred, magical and extraordinary ceremonies, bear in mind that it can be a lot to witness. The colors, the scents, the people, the usual and unusual sights may come together and it’ll be a treat of a lifetime that definitely leaves an imprint in your memory.
Our last tip? Enjoy it, live it and celebrate it!