Hinduism in Bali is quite different from that practiced in India. Though they do share the practices of rituals and ceremonies for every major event, the Balinese tend to take them many steps further. They have ceremonies for every possible and imaginable event in a person’s life whether its pregnancy, birth and especially death.
Thanks to the owners of our homestay in Amed, Bali we were invited to a ‘Land ceremony’ that was to take place. This is conducted before any construction or farming takes place on the land to ward off any evil spirits. It’s one of the smaller ceremonies where it’s usually only attended by the family and not the whole village like it is in case of a funeral.
We were only further delighted when they offered to dress us up in the traditional attire for the ceremony. Once dressed we set off on motorbikes to the land up in the mountains.
For this special occasion as an offering to the Gods, they had roasted a suckling pig which was then carried off to the land.
Depending on the caste and economic status of the family the offerings can range from one pig to several cows.
The ceremony itself didn’t last too long and was performed by one of the brothers in the family than a priest itself. Its end was signaled with the slicing of the pig’s head and bits of the roasted pig skin were handed to everyone to eat. The kids were all shouting out to be given the tail which I presume was a favourite among them.
The celebration was then continued back in the house with bottles of home-made alcohol which looked and tasted a lot like the local arak. The drinking then went on until the late hours of the evening or night. At least some forms of celebration it seems are universal!