Bali has been given many names in its colourful history, one of which is the ‘Island of Temples’. Depending on what is classified as a ‘temple’ in Bali, there are tens of thousands of them scattered throughout the island, each of which has an ‘odalan’ (anniversary) every 210 days (6 Balinese months).
The temples in Bali range from the household temples or ‘Sanggah’ to be found in every family compound, through to the ‘Kahyangan Tiga’, the three major temples of every village, up to the ‘Sad Kahyangan’ temples that are used for worship by all Balinese, e.g. the temples at Besakih, Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, Batur, etc. With so many temples found throughout Bali, each having its own day for its ‘odalan’, visitors to Bali will rarely miss an opportunity to be able to witness one of these occasions somewhere in the area that they are staying. Depending on the cycle of ‘odalan’, the ceremony will either be a small one-day event or a larger ceremony, stretching over several days, depending on the number of people who will be coming to help in its celebration. For the larger ‘odalan’ of the ‘Kahyangan Tiga’, visitors come to pray from neighbouring villages, with long and colourful processions of people dressed up in their finest accompanying their ‘barong’ (something like a Chinese Dragon, a holy heirloom of the temple considered to be the protector of the village) as well as an escort by their village ‘gamelan’ (orchestra). These occasions are most important for the communal harmony of the Balinese, where whole villages will descend upon another village to pray at their ‘odalan’, adding their blessings for the success of the occasion. At such times the village holding the ‘odalan’ will organise a number of performances to help to entertain their many guests, as well as adding more to the blessing of the temple. Going well into the night, there might be a number of different performances, including a variety of the more classical dance performances enacting various stories of Hindu scripture, or Topeng (Mask Dance), Arja (Balinese Opera), or perhaps the most riveting of all of the performances, the Calonarang, an enacting of the eternal struggle between the Barong and Rangda.
As with other public ceremonies held by the Balinese, visitors to Bali are very welcome to attend an ‘odalan’ if they so wish, as long as they are ready to observe dress requirements & do not interfere with the proceedings of the ceremony. At KLUB KOKOS we help our guests with any questions that they might have about a particular ceremony, as well as give assistance with dress requirements needed. In this way we hope our guests will be able to develop a deeper understanding of the complex life of the Balinese.