Nov 20, 2006

Why Can't A Woman in Period Enter A Temple?

"Sorry, I can't go to the temple this full moon. I have my period," that's what Made, a friend of mine, once said to me when we talked about going to a temple. In Bali, women talk openly about their menstruation especially when it is related to temple activities. There is nothing embarrassing about that. But instead of saying in period, they merely say that they have their "monthly guest" coming.

When you visit a temple in Bali, you must not be in your period when entering temple complex. Why is that? People, especially the lady tourists, ask with inquisitive and accusing look at me that we don't treat our Balinese women fairly. Okay, let me tell you, that is not the case.

There some reasons why people are not allowed to enter the temple, this is called cuntaka (pronounced chun ta ka). If there is a mourning because of there is a death in one family, they can not go to the temple. Because it will cause the temple "leteh" or dirty. The woman who has just given birth to a baby should not also enter the temple, so is the woman who is in period. So, does that mean they don't pray at all? Well, they can say Gayatri Mantram or prayer at home or any where they like but not at the temple. When having a baby, a woman becomes weak so she has to rest that she does not have to go to the temple. A woman in period is considered a blessing, because she does not either have to go to the temple. So, though the woman does not go to the temple, she is still blessed by the God.

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