Jun 27, 2007

The Bali Flowers: Why We Need Them Every Day?

Traveling to Bali, beside enjoying the beautiful panorama of the paradise island, you will also observe various kind of plants and flowers. The flowers has a very important role in Balinese life and culture. I must say, I don't think Balinese can pass any single day without flower. This sounds like an exaggeration, but after reading this post, I am sure you will agree.

Bali flower, hibiscusThere are many kinds of flowers growing in Bali, namely, rose, jasmine, frangipani, hibiscus, and buogenville. If you ask me, what is the Bali flower, then the answer is Sandat. I am not quite sure what its translation in English. Sandat is very popular, not for decoration or for a gift to your girl friend, but for offerings and 'tool' for praying. It is yellow in colour, and has a beautiful smell. Even if the colour turns black, because it is already dry, the scent remains. There is a Balinese song written by local composer that tells about this flower. The song is about an advice to Balinese young girls to be like sandat flower, to always have good reputation (good scent) even they are getting older.

The flowers are largely used for offerings, and decoration in the temple during temple ceremony. When a Balinese Hindu pray, s/he will need flowers of different colours, especially white, red and yellow. (Marigold can not be used in prayer, because according to local legend, it grew out of a female giant). When you are in Bali, you can find offerings made of coconut leaves and flowers put in shrines, houses or shops. The Balinese have this replaced every day especially in the morning.

Besides for praying, flowers are used for various purposes. Balinese dancers also put flowers (usually frangipani) on their hair. Balinese brides have sandat or cempaka on their hair as well.

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