5 Balinese Daily Activities

Every community in Indonesia has activities that has become a tradition. Likewise in Bali. Other than various arts, culture, traditions and diversity of tourist objects, the Balinese community has also activities that become a religious tradition. It is related to make the Balinese offerings. The goal of this tradition is to get protection and blessings from the God.


Here are 5 Balinese daily activities you should know so when you are travelling to Bali they will not surprise you.



1. Mesodan


banten sodan for offering

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If you see houses in Bali, especially Hindus, you will find small cups filled with coffee and snacks that are arranged at the Sanggah or Pelinggih (the place where God is staying) at every house. This is commonly called Mesodan.


This activity is usually carried out in the morning before starting the routine. While brewing coffee, the Balinese will provide small cups and plates or similar. Then a small cup is filled with coffee and a small plate is filled with snacks (Sodan).


Equipped with canang and incense, then the “Sodan” is delivered to the Sanggah while chanting the offering mantra and ngayap (moving the fingers back and forth). The Sodan can be taken back in the afternoon or evening. This activity is carried out routinely every day.



2. Mesaiban


banten saiban in bali offering

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If you travel to Bali and notice that at the outside of Hindus house there are small pieces of banana leaves filled with rice and side dishes or “saur”, then you know it is a “Saiban” offering.


After cooking before eating, Hindus will cut small banana leaves and place them on a tray. On the top of the banana leaves the Hindus put small amount of sukla rice (rice that has not been eaten after cooking) and sukla side dishes (not eaten yet). Additional foods such as saur (coconut condiment), beans and salt are also used sometimes.


After that the “Saiban” is delivered to “pelinggih” or “sanggah” in the yard of the house while chanting offerings and speech. The goal is to give thanks for the blessings and the gift of food given by God.



3. Mejejaitan


mejejaitan is hindus daily activity

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Balinese daily activities which are routinely carried out by the Hindu community are “mejejaitan”. Mejejatian is an activity to make ceremonial offering for religious purposes. The material consists of slepan (old coconut leaves), busung (young coconut leaves), ibung (a kind of palm-like leaf) and semat (small sliced bamboo) used to placard the leaves.


There are various types of mejejaitan. Starting from the small ceremonial offering to the offerings for large ceremonies. Mejejaitan is usually done by women. Therefore, Balinese Hindu women from an early age have been taught how to make offerings.



4. Metanding


metanding activity during balinese ceremony

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Metanding is also Balinese Hindu religious activity which is almost carried out daily. This activity involves the making and arranging of offerings for ceremonial purposes. In their daily activities, Balinese Hindus do the metanding using banana leaves as a container as well as various flowers on it.


Sometime a big ceremony requires complex offerings. Therefore, metanding must be carried out by more than one person, usually from relatives. Generally, metanding is done by women who have been educated from an early age to be proficient in metanding activity. The ability to compile the correct offerings is a challenge for them.



5. Mebanten Canang


mebanten canang is balinese routine activity

Credit: Sivaya

The main daily activity of Hindus is “mebanten canang”. This activity must be done before praying. Usually it is carried out in the afternoon, except for certain holy days. The ingredients for mebanten are dupa (incense), tirta (holy water), sekar (flowers) as well as rarapan (small rice biscuits and sweets).


The mebanten activity starts from putting the canang, sekar, dupa and rarapan in “pelinggih” or on yard house, then sprinkled tirta and diayap (moving the fingers back and forth) while chanting mantras. This activity is not only carried out by women, but also men. After it is finished, the prayer begins.


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