CULTURES IN CONTEXT
Bali: Ancient and Modern
5. Daily Life : 043-055
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043. People here work hard to please good
spirits and try just as hard not to offend evil ones. They avoid doing
anything that would harm the village, and also make regular offerings on
their own behalf. The Hinduism practiced in Bali substitutes gifts of food
and flowers for the animal sacrifices common in India and Nepal even today.
044. Every day Wayan and her mother prepare
gifts for good spirits … grains of rice arranged on pieces of banana leaf,
plus grains of salt, and sometimes flowers or gifts of money. They place
these in the family temple, on shrines at the corners of their garden,
at the gate, and outside every building.
045. Chickens soon eat up the rice, just as
monkeys steal the food in village temples, but long before this happens
the gods have taken note of the devotion these gifts symbolize. Because
they live in sacred trees at the temple monkies are never molested.
046. Offerings to evil spirits are simply
thrown on the ground outside the gate, where dogs eat them. Scraps of meat
are offered daily, and rice and flowers every fifth and fifteenth day.
047. Behind Wayan's garden are the fields
where the family grows their rice. Their farm is only 3000 square metres
in size — not much bigger than their garden — but it is all they need.
048. They do not have machines, so much work
is done by hand, in this case weeding along a narrow terrace wall.
049. They do get some help from farm animals,
though, with ploughing and harrowing.
050. Like almost every other farm in Bali
their land is steeply sloping, and it is divided into long narrow fields,
or terraces ... twenty of them,
051. Preparing the fields and planting the
rice is man's work, and is supervised by Wayan's father … who also keeps
records of the money paid by tourists. Her mother looks after the house
and garden, with hired help in recent years.
052. The few things which they cannot produce
themselves are purchased from the market. Like local markets worldwide
there will be a variety of stalls: some sell fruit and vegetables, others
meat or fish, others tools, and others cloth. And shopping is woman's work.
So is cooking.
053. The family eats rice at almost every
meal … flavored with a bit of fish or meat, coconut, salt and chili pepper.
This was served on a banana leaf, but they now have plates plus knives
and forks for the sake of tourists.
054. Wayan and her sister wear uniforms to
their school, which is just a short walk away.
55. They will change when they get home, and
either help with chores or play with friends in the garden ... in this
case “mothers and fathers”. However, every child also has his/her share
of work to do daily.
Text, photos and recordings
by John Tyman
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