You will soon notice black and white cloth everywhere in Bali. You see it around the shrines both in public temple and family temple. It is also worn by Kecak dancers as their saput (sarong) and wrapped around statue of Dwarapala in front of temple gates. Besides, some umbrellas, and other stuff are also wrapped in black and white cloth. Is black and white cloth becoming a trend in Bali?
The answer is no.
The black and white cloth is used a lot in activity related to religion and culture. It departs from a Balinese philosophy called Rwa Bineda or the two which is different. This means that the life always consist of two oppositional things just like the color black and white. It can also seen it as ‘day and night’, ‘sadness and happiness’, ‘high and low’, ‘rich and poor’, well, the list will not stop here…
Realizing that the life always consists of these “black and white”, the Balinese apply this concept in life in a certain way; when a Balinese is sad because of misfortune, he will remember that sadness is a part of the circle where happiness is in the other side. Hence, he will not feel so sad. When he is happy, “he will not be too happy”. Just act the normal way. This is called, though sound to be an oversimplification, balance in life.
Another ‘black and white’ is the cloth used to wrap around the guardian statues in front of the temple gate. This implies that the guardian should realize or know to differentiate which is good and which is bad.