Walk down any street in Bali and you’ll see canang sari by your feet; small, square, woven baskets made from coconut leaves and filled with flowers accompanied by an assortment of gifts for the Gods and topped with a single smouldering stick of incense. Only women make the offerings, however, several generations often sit together chatting while magically transforming the natural ingredients into beautiful creations.
In a hands-on experience with Destination Asia Indonesia, visit a Brahman family’s traditional home to learn and participate in the making of traditional offerings. Take your time to join them and learn how to create the small canang sari as well as the gebogan – large arrangements of fruit, colourful flowers and cooked chicken attached to a banana tree trunk by sharp bamboo skewers forming a cylindrical tower. While canang sari are placed in houses, temples, and on the streets on a daily basis, gebogan are carried on the head’s of Balinese women for important ceremonies taking place at temples.
Afterwards, witness the daily ritual of prayer. Dressed in a sarong, the women will place the canang sari in their house temple. A frangipani flower is dipped into a bowl of holy water and sprinkled over the offering before an incense completes the fusion of earth, fire, wind and water. After three meditational waves with the hand accompanied by a prayer, the smoke carries the essence of the offerings up to God.
A very short drive will bring you to another Brahman House of the Pedanda, the High-Priest of Mas village, where you will see how the larger gebogan is carried to the temple to be blessed and a donation is given with prayers to the ancient family temple that serves around 800 people of the village. Once all rituals are concluded, the women will take the gebogan back home and the food is shared amongst family and friends. Enjoy a traditional lunch, which includes chicken, rice, sambal and fruits, before you saying goodbye to your new Balinese friends.
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