Perhaps Bali got its name the island of gods because of these offerings. You can find offerings wherever you go. Early in the morning, they put their offerings in front of their building, in the car, on the small shrine in front of the house or office, or even at the corner of a street. Just be careful not to step on the offerings.
“It is a routine daily prayer. I pray in the morning for my safety on the road and put the offering on my car’s dashboard,” explained Kadek, the driver who guided me around on my second day in Bali.
“I will pray again after reaching home, thanking God for the safety I had during the day. That’s a daily ritual. Probably a suggestive action to gain a safe journey during the day,” said Kadek. I think that is faith. Believing that God is protecting him during the day.
The Balinese call this offering as canang sari. Every day Balinese women prepare the canang, derived from the word ca (beautiful) and nang (purpose); the small palm-leaf basket. Sari means essence.
During a ceremony they will make more offerings. Despite the routine ceremony, there are also ceremony to purify the environment from the negative impact of the accidents.
I was warned by a friend not to let my son swim in the sea if he is not a good swimmer. “Accidents happened, be responsible for your own safety,” she advised me.
Kadek agreed on the need to be careful, saying that after any accident, the community should perform a ritual prayer to purify the place. He added that sometimes tourists did not really care about safety, they did not know that the community will be the one who bear the consequences.
Yesterday, I saw in the television the ritual purifying prayer after the death of the North Kuta police Anak Agung Putu Sudiarta who was stabbed eight times by French national Amokrane Sabet. Sabet was then shot repeatedly by other policeman. Both Sudiarta and Sabet ended their journey in this world.
From Coconuts Bali, I learned that the name of the purification ceremony is Ngulapin.
From other source I learned that Ngulapin is to bring back the harmony of life. Harmony of life is also means to bring peaceful to the departed one.
Global Hobo in his post “Tragedy in Bali is a Stark Reminder to Travel Humbly” also mention about the tourist who ride over the canang sari without care.
Even as Indonesian, I was also a tourist in Bali. A local tourist who should also be careful with the tradition and regulation of the local community. As we are not familiar with the existence of the offerings on the pedestrian, we do need to be more careful on walking.
I warned my son several times, as he walked with his earphone on, totally absorbed in his music. He was unintentionally made the offerings scattered as he walked unaware of it. We clean it up, put it back to its canang.
We have our own faith and believe, but we should respect others’ believe. That is the harmony of life.
Bali, the island of gods. It needs the harmony of life to keep it being the paradise on earth.
Guruh Soekarnoputra once made a song “Kembalikan Baliku Padaku“, Please Give Me My Bali Back. The viral stories on Amokrane Sabet, and my conversation with some Balinese showed how tourism had changed Bali, changed the harmony of its community.
I hope that these canang sari, the offerings that we found anywhere we go, remind us to the Balinese needs of harmonious life.
We came to Bali for its tranquility, for its beauty, for its magical moments. So, we do need to help the Balinese keep the island as the island of gods. We should help the police and the pecalang (who is guarding in the community) to keep Bali as a safe and peaceful place to visit and to live.