Saraswati Day

Saraswati

Saraswati Day is a sacred day in the Balinese calendar dedicated to the Hindu goddess of wisdom and learning and knowledge. Students will attend school in traditional Balinese Dress. Books and other learning materials will be gathered and blessed by teachers and priests. But Saraswati Day is celebrated by all Balinese since knowledge is regarded as the most important thing for human life.

The day after Saraswati day is Banyu Pinaruh. People often take a bath in the sea, lake or river on this day. The philosophy behind this is that wisdom should flow like water. People also drink traditional medicine made from special leaves since good health is the next most important element in human life.

Soma Ribek follows on Monday and on this day, prayers are offered to Dewi Sri in thanks for the food and drink that is necessary for human life.

Three days after Saraswati day is Sabuh Mas meaning “gold belt” On this day, thanks is given for cloth and gold and the material things in life.

Finally, on Wednesday is Pagerwesi. This day is the second biggest holiday after Galungan. Offerings will be made in the home temple and prayers offered to Sang Hyang Pramesti Guru. Knowledge, health, food and cloth and gold must be looked after for a balanced life and to maintain balance in the universe.

Having fun in Jimbaran – there’s so much to do!

Looking for things to do in Jimbaran? Here are some of the things we recommend to our Longhouse guests.

ATTRACTION

 

Jenggala Ceramics The Longhouse loves Jenggala and most of our plates come from here. Wonderful colors and creative shapes featuring lotus leaves, frangipani and other Bali images. Paint your own ceramics (kids too) and enjoy periodic exhibitions and the trendy cafe. 
Jimbaran Seafood Market Buy vanilla and spices and bargain with fishermen for freshly caught seafood! (The first stop for The Longhouse cooking class) 
Nusa Dua Theater World Class theatrical performances with state of the art stage, sound and lighting systems in fully airconditioned auditorium. Cirque de Soleil meets Asian tradition.
Museum Pasifika This hidden gem contains amazing paintings of Bali by world famous artists curated in a historical context. Wonderfully organized and beautifully displayed in a series of pavillions. We love this place!
The Bali Collection Collection of shops and restaurants gathered together for the convenience of Nusa Dua tourists. Not a first choice for shopping or eating as a destination point, but if you are passing you may want to drop in. There is a branch of Uluwatu here featuring some lovely ladies clothing. 
Benoa Bay: Fishing, Glass bottom boat snorkling A day of fishing can be arranged from boat owners at Benoa Bay. Start early in the morning for a lovely voyage and bring your fish back to be cooked by Longhouse chefs! Enjoy other seafaring activites from this popular port.
Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park A huge statue of the Garuda looks down at the scene of this former quarry that has been changed into an activity center with segways, flying foxes and daily cultural shows. Go in the cool of the morning since the rocks radiate heat! It is a little old fashioned, but you can have some fun there with a positive mindset. 
Belangan Beach and temple Beach beds and quiet atmosphere make this a getaway escape. Picturesque temple nestled in a cave next to the beach is sometimes locked but can be visited when open for those wearing appropriate dress – sarong, sash and appropriate blouse/shirt. 
Uluwatu Temple For a breathtaking sunset experience, you can’t beat Uluwatu Temple which seems to grow out of the rocks and perches dramatically many meters above crashing waves. The kecak dance is performed every evening at  6pm and is a sight that shouldn’t be missed! Bring your sash and sarong and arrive early – it’s popular! 
New Kuta Golf Course Drive down the dramatic entrance to Dreamland. Charming lady caddies will guide you through the picturesque course.
Pandawa Beach Beautiful hidden beach that has now been developed and “discovered”! Still a fun place to visit. Paddle boats and protected water on one side and surfers on the other
Nusa Dua (Geger) Beach Haunt of seaweed farmers this beautiful beach has been shortened by the construction of the new Melia hotel. Stop at Nusa Dua beach Grill for a cozy lunch.
Jimbaran Beach Perfect for swimming, lounging, viewing the sunset and long walks with lapping waves. Nearby seafood restaurants are famous but get a recommendation since some are less than scrupulous. Recently opened Sandara lends new cool to the beach. Wear your smart casual best for stopping for the delicious food at Sandara.
Padang Padang Beach Padang Padang is the beach that many people rate as the best in Bali (and one of the best in the world –  Dramatic rocks!  Churning surf! Many small surfer shops and casual restaurants in the vicinity. 
Bali Cliff Beach Lots of steps beautiful clear water, clean sand and surfers. Watch out for the monkeys in the car park! Lots of steps! 
Pecatu Graha Water Park The three-hectare tourist attraction offers a range of activities including flying fox, paintball warrior and bungy trampoline in addition to a wide range of water attractions. “Water park” may be your toddlers first words after a visit here. Entrance fee Rp. 100,000, Fun for the whole family. 
L’Atelier Parfums et Creations at the Ayana Hotel (reservations required and can be made by our Longhouse staff)  Create your own lovely signature fragrance in a 90 minute workshop guided by charming and knowledgable ladies. Relax in front of your “organ” of scents and enjoy learning how to make your very own perfume. Highly recommended.
Jimbaran Corner Light shopping and lunch. Jimbaran corner has a pleasant selection of easy restaurants where you can enjoy western, Japanese or Indonesian food. Cute little shops include Bin House with is super lovely high quality batik unlike all other!
Balique Restaurant Shabby chic café with charming décor and great food. There is a small shop inside to entertain while waiting for your order. Right next to Balique are 3 lovely shops with Jewelry, home furnishings and pretty things. 1 minute down the road from Jimbaran corner. 
El Cabrone Beach club and restaurant. Amazing sunsets and dramatic Cliffside view make this a must do for Longhouse guests. Go before sunset and stay for a dinner of light tapas and Paella. Spanish owner and Spanish chef ensure you are getting the real thing.
Made in Italy Restaurant Italian son and mum ensure you are getting real Italian home cooking. This charming eatery near Belangan beach has high standards and yummy food. Love the freshly baked bread sticks.
Budda Cafe More for the local expat scene, but if you have run out of your favorite health food or detox aids stop into Budda on Jalan Uluwatu. Yummy healthy sandwiches  and juices too.
Salt Restaurant Basic wooden benches and tables with surfer dude owner tucked in the corner. Simple cheap food in charming rustic setting.
Garasi Local and western food with a German accent. Sit in the outdoor courtyard elbow to elbow with local expats. Great friendly service and nice food.
Cuca Molecular gastronomy in a sophisticated environment. Cutting edge and delicious food at prices to make you come back for more!

 

Religion and Spirituality in Bali

At the blessing ceremony for the Longhouse in April 2008

Bali is a Hindu Island in the middle of the world’s most populous Islamic nation.

Both Buddhist and Hindu influences in Bali date back at least to the 9th Century AD. In 1343, Bali was conquered by the Majapahit empire and even today, the cultural impact of that time is still in evidence in many aspects of Balinese life, but particularly in the religious practices of the Balinese. While the Balinese religion is Hindu, Buddhist and animistic elements from ancient times give it it’s own very special charm.

The landscape of Bali is dotted with temples large and small. The ancient mother temple on the slopes of Gunang Agung, the picturesque temple at Tanah Lot and the dramatic Cliffside temple at Uluwatu are commonly seen in guide books and postcards. But temples are found in every village and indeed every house. The Longhouse’s main temple  which protects and guards the house (Padmasari) is located outside the door of Bali bedroom and a second temple (Penunggun Karang) can be seen at the entrance of the house. Offerings are presented on a daily basis and ceremonies conducted on appropriate days throughout the year.

Every day Balinese women spend time making canang, small offerings comprised of a basket created from young palm leaves and containing flowers, shredded pandan leaves and other objects such as food or even money. These offerings are sometimes placed in the temple for the gods and sometimes in other strategic places. You will see them on the dashboards of cars, in front of shops and of course, in the  Longhouse. When these offerings are placed lower than a man’s breast, their purpose is to appease the buthan  or demons that can cause havoc in daily life.

For the Balinese people, religion is a daily devotion punctuated with many personal and shared ceremonies throughout the year. The religion of Bali, practiced by all Balinese is the glue that holds the culture together and the foundation for almost every aspect of Balinese life.

Tailor-made Clothing in Bali

I normally don’t think of Bali as a place to tailor clothing. But… A friend of mine just returned with a nice leather jacket and a sharp suit at amazingly reasonable prices. Next time I am going to check out the places, but here they are in case you want to have a look.

MERRY’S COLLECTION (Leather Fashion & Tailor) Jl Padma Utara, Ruko No 6, Kuta, Bali phone 03617453145 or 081338353167 website http://www.merryscollection.com YOGI BEAR TAILOR (Exclusive Dress Maker & Textile) Jl Padma Utara, Kuta Bali Mobile +628174702611 email is yogibeartailor@yahoo.com

Please let me know if you try them. My friend’s items looked good. My only reservation was the quality of the suiting material – but it may be that there are other options that he did not select.

Galungan

Wednesday, February 1 (2012) marks the first day of Galungan one of the major religious festivals in the Balinese calendar. Every 210 days, the Balinese gods visit the earth and are entertained and welcome throughout the island. The day before Galungan is a busy time when preparations are made in the household. Beautifully woven offerings are created using palm leaves, flowers, cakes and fruit and food is lovingly cooked and prepared for the celebrations to come.

On the first day of Galungan, which lasts for 10 days, visitors will notice traditionally dressed families making offerings at the temples throughout the island. Families who have ancestors who have not yet been cremated, but who are buried in the village cemeteries make offerings at the cemeteries as well. Penjor, long, decorated bamboo poles bend gracefully along the roadsides to mark the celebration of the festival. Most people travel back to their ancestoral villages for at least a day in honor of this celebration and to pay their respects at the family temple. Everywhere throughout the island, people can be seen in happily enjoying the festive occasion dressed in their best clothing.

Galungan celebrates the triumph of good over evil as symbolized by the victory ofDharma over Adharma. Dharma is a complex philosophical idea which includes the concept of a moral order in society – a central concept in Hindu philosophy.

The last day of the Galungan period is Kuningan. On this day, which marks the closing of the Galungan period, celebrations are held for the ancesteral spirits and the gods once again return to the heavens.

Fab Fabric

Why has it taken me this long to find out about Wira’s ? (Jl Raya Kuta – on the right side coming from the direction of the airport – phone: (0361) 751727) All you need is patience, your creativity and imagination and possibly a flashlight. Wira’s is a treasure trove of fabric from all over Indonesia.

First I’ll tell you what I bought. I was looking for some Batik napkins to use for BBQ’s and other messy-finger meals. US90 cents a piece in a pretty red pattern. Then, I needed some replacement Batik for some cushions and bed runners in my favorite hand drawn pattern from Cirebon. I have seen this fabric selling for about US$60 or more for a 2 meter sarong length. US$12 per meter! It was in a bolt, but beautifully hand drawn and just what I was looking for.

One of my favorite Batik motifs from Cirebon

There were silk scarves in Batik and other woven fabric, blouses that didn’t really catch my fancy, and just about anything you can imagine that is made from fabric. If they don’t have it, they will make if for you at a reasonable cost in a few days.

Just before I was ready to leave, in amongst the stacks of fabric, I saw the most beautiful hand woven silk. It is a bit stiff and would make a gorgeous window shade or a wonderful cushion cover or….maybe it could be used as a background for a framed artifact…. I wonder if it would work in a piece of clothing? But now 3 meters are mine and I am going to let my imagination lead the way.