Bali is a truly awe-inspiring island in many ways! Repeatedly ranked among the world’s best travel destinations, Bali has many surprising features to make your holiday unforgettable, including a leading array of fish species found only in Indonesian waters, one of the most expensive (and sought-after!) coffees globally, and not to mention officially the world’s largest commercial bamboo building with a chocolate factory inside. Amazed? Here are another 7 pieces of incredible trivia about Bali.
1. The Balinese New Year Starts with a Silent Day.
Nyepi or “silence day” is the most dedicated holiday on the calendar which Balinese people all over celebrate. Locals (and tourists mind you) will not be working, not travelling, not talking, and even lights are turned off or only on minimal power. Quiet contemplation is the order of the day so even being outside is strictly off limits. Also, this day indicates the beginning of the New Year, and in Bali…
2. The Calendar Lasts 210 Days!
According to the original Hindu calendar, the year lasts only 210 days, instead of 365/6 with the traditional western calendar the majority of the globe are used to. So, do not be shocked if a local wishes you Happy New in the middle of March. Additionally, Nyepi’s specific day is always drifting by as much as several weeks. In 2016, for example, it was celebrated on 9th of March, and the next year it will be celebrated on the 28th of March, so you better keep up!
3. Balinese People Predominately Profess Hindu
Another interesting fact about this popular little Indonesian island, is that the majority of its residents are Hindu. As we all are no doubt aware, Indonesia is a Muslim country. However, there are several islands, including Bali, where Hindu is the dominant religion.
4. Bali Recognises a Caste System Similar to India
The Hindu society is based on the caste system. Due to a significant Western influence in Bali, the caste system is not as strong as in India (for instance, there is no one deemed to be part of the “untouchables” in Bali), but still, every person will be aware of their caste placement. “Brahmin” apriori is the most highly-revered, receiving total respect from all other castes.
5. Babies Cannot Touch the Ground
Balinese infants are carried everywhere, and are to never let themselves be touching the ground before turning three months old. This carries many types of significance from the straightforward medical reasons (e.g. avoiding germs) but also for good luck and blessings for the child.
6. Additional Names Are Mandatory
Balinese children are given four existing local names – Wayan, Made, Nyoman, Ketut – simply meaning Firstborn, Secondborn, Third born and Forth born. This is regardless of the sex of the child, and could explain why most of the lovely people you met on your travels seemed to have long or commonly shared names!
7. Bali’s Global Tourist Success
Bali is the crown jewel in South East Asia’s tourism crown. It is so popular with travellers, 80% of the economy is dependent on tourism. This means that obviously keeping these travellers happy for the duration of their trips and having a good reputation is vital for the Balinese economy and society. For the past decade, living conditions have increased significantly due to countless of visitors on the island every year bringing and spending on the shores – so the Balinese must be doing something right!
So, how many facts from this list did you already know? After reading this, hopefully it has inspired you to learn more about Bali by exploring the enticing cultural heritage, discovering new places, or just drifting from one flawless beach to the next, the choice is yours.