BALI’S CUSTOM PROHIBITION

As Indonesia is a land flourished with various cultures and ethnicity, each region has developed and embraced its own traditional values, customs, and beliefs. Therefore, every tourist or visitor is expected to respect these aspects. Bali is one of the areas that still strictly upholds its traditional norms.
One Balinese custom that is most recognized is perhaps Nyepi or Seclusion Day, during which the people on the island are required to stay in their houses and prohibited to do any activities except praying. The custom also forbids the people to turn the lights or electronic devices on so that they may focus on their praying. These principles have to be followed not only by the Hindus, but also by the people who live or stay in the island.
Traditional values and manners in Bali are not limited to the Seclusion Day. There are other regulations that every visitor must concern about.

1. Temple Attire

As largely populated by Hindus, Hindu temples are spread all over the islands, acting as both praying sites and tourism spots. Visiting tourist must wear appropriate clothings and are not allowed to wear revealing attires, such as short pants or tank-tops. Tourist are usually asked to have a piece of scarf or fabric tied to their waist. The respectfulness is not only shown through clothings but also actions. Tourist may not speak rudely and do unmannered behaviors.

2. Offerings

Tourists may often found offerings at almost every corner of the island; in front of houses or even on the sidewalks. Offerings are considered as a form of honor and gratitude towards the Almighty presented by the Hindus. Tourists are advised to avoid stepping on or stepping over the offerings and not removing them from their original place. Should the tourist unintentionally conduct any of these acts, they are suggested to sincerely apologize.

3. Regulations for Entering Sacred Sites (For Women)

Temples have been ones of the main attractions in Bali. As temples are considered as sacred sites, those who wish to enter the place must be in a ‘pure’ or ‘clean’ condition to keep the sites consecrated. Thus, women who are currently in menstruation period during the visit are strongly prohibited from entering.

4. Attitude during Religious Procession

Hindus in Bali often hold religious activities from time to time that may require the roads to be blocked or closed. It might become a little inconvenient for the tourists since the traffic will probably be jammed. However, the tourists are required to respect the activities by not sounding the horns and shouting. In fact, the tourists may witness the unique and original culture of the Balinese people. Tourists are also required to put extra caution while taking pictures. Using flashlight and standing before the prayers are strictly forbidden.

5. Gestures

For some people, stroking one’s head is seen as an affectionate gesture. However, that is not the case for Balinese people. Head is considered as the most divine body part. Touching someone’s head, even of children, may be thought as rude and disrespectful. Pointing at things using the left hand is also not recommended as it is the Balinese people regard this act as less polite.

6. Staying Regulations

As Bali is visited by almost millions of people at once, Balinese people take large measures to maintain comfort within the people themselves, and also the visitors. Thus, should the visitors plan to stay for a longer period, they are required to report the identity cards to local village officials in order to acquire the obtaining Seasonal Resident Identity Card (KIPEM). If the visitors fail to meet this requirement, the people and village officials may enforce sanctions during routine raids.

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