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Published: June 21st 2017
Temple - some of the many fruit offerings
Each from a different family, each with it's own basket of flowers and palms perched on top, and each with incense burning. You should have smelled this place....intoxicating.
Geo: -8.51927, 115.263
So, this is not a tourist thing. I was given specific instructions on how to dress and act in order to attend a ceremony in the Village Temple in Ubud. There are ceremonies all the time, I think sort of like how Christians and Jews visit church and Synagogue weekly, though I'm not sure the Hindu ceremony's are weekly - I haven't figured out their schedule yet. In any event, I had to wear a sarong - no pants in a temple, even for the men. I needed long sleeves and a sash/belt for my waist. I did my best with what I had, my guesthouse had a sash I borrowed, but my plain white linen shirt was a poor comparison to the elaborate lace and sequined shirts that the ladies of Ubud had on. Sunday best brought to a whole other level.
All the families brought offerings to the ceremony, the wealthier ones brought big, er huge, fruit baskets. But everyone at least brought a little sterling silver basket with flowers, and palm fronds, and incense. Even the teenaged boys carried them. There was a Gamelan orchestra playing in the inner temple, and a female Gamelan playing the outer
Temple - syncronized prayer
Notice that they are each holding a flower at the tips of their hands; after each time they pray with a flower they put it in their pony tail (the men tuck it behind their ear). When they leave they are all adorned, beautiful!
temple walls. Everyone came in and slipped off their shoes, sat on them, and quietly prayed. A few older ladies walked through the rows of patrons, and performed individual prayers for them which consisted of holy water flicked on them from a sterling cup via a palm frond, then a few drops of holy water poured into their cupped hands which was quickly drunken - repeated this a few times, then they picked a little spot of rice from a silver bowl and ate it. Reminded me a little of the Christian ceremony with the wine and sacrament - not so different really. Later in the evening (this was a long ceremony) someone got on a microphone, and everyone joined in a synchronized prayer, raising their woven palm fans above their heads together a few times, and bowing to the big Ganesh statue in the front. Then they all got up, and swooped off like school had just gotten out.
All the beautiful ladies whisked up their GI-normous fruit baskets, plucked them on top of their heads, and whisked out of the temple as though they didn't have 100 pounds of fruit balanced on top of them. (Side note: Balinese give
fruit and rice offerings daily in their various home temples, neighborhood temples, and village temples, but they sort of feel like the offering is a gesture and the gods get it - so they eat the food as the day goes on when they get hungry. When I was shopping in the silver village, the lady gave me a few snacks out of her shop's offerings as she had some. Mmm, I unwrapped the banana leaf to find it was acting like a jello mold for some kind of a firm rice pudding that had a banana inside. It was sweet and yummy.)
Ubud is such a small town, and I've been here for almost three weeks, I can't go anywhere without someone calling my name "Suss-Anne", and this ceremony was no different. As I was taking picture of the ladies leaving with the fruit on their heads, one of them calls my name and reaches out her hand to me. It was the chef from my guest house! I'd only ever seen her in her work sarong and uniform shirt and I didn't even recognize her in her glamorous temple clothes. It's certainly a different feeling than when I was
walking around the streets of Manhattan only a few months ago. I've got more friends here in only two weeks!
Mass is over now it's time to gamble! No kidding, after the ceremony two different 'pits' opened up on the lower temple platform. Something resembling a mix between craps (the way they threw down the money) and roulette (the way the dice showed the corresponding image and the winners). I was the only girl near the pits, so I didn't linger because I wasn't so sure it was cool that I was there. Though I was greeting with the typical huge Balinese smile whenever I made eye contact with someone!
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