Where to begin with Bali? Joanna's limited two-week vacation necessarily meant that we were primarily relegated to the tourist trail, and though we managed to find ourselves at a Balinese wedding in full traditional dress, our exploration felt fairly superficial. True to its reputation, Bali is beautiful - both inside and out. Balinese culture is technically Hindu, but flushed with a tremendously animist influence. As a result, the people spend their days furiously engaged in ceremonies and offerings to balance the good spirits with the bad, and are extremely dedicated to their faith and the routine that it inspires. Temples, houses and even rooms within them are aligned to balance the concepts of kaja (good; the mountains) with kelod (bad; the woods, beaches and the sea), with the restrooms facing kelod and the temple kaja. The architecture of Balinese temples and houses are built with concentrated specificity, usually by consulting local priests. And the auspiciousness of dates plays an extraordinarily important role in everyday life; toothing ceremony, cremation and wedding dates dates are carefully selected under the confluence of three separate calendar systems.
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