Today, the 33rd Bali Art Festival officially started. Well, the real, official opening ceremony was held on the night of June 10, 2011 at Denpasar Cultural Center. The Festival was officially declared opened by Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The president also opened two other major events, the National Utsawa Dharma Gita and the Bali World Culture Forum.
Like any colossal event, there has to be something big to commemorate the opening. That’s it, a parade is in order. Today on June 11, 2011, a massive parade was held in front of the mayor’s office (which was also near the governor’s residence). The parade introduced contingents and delegates of all the regencies in Bali, including some contingents from other parts of Indonesia, and was held at Puputan Badung Park from 2 pm to 4 pm local time.
I, like any newbie photographer without flashy equipment and an ID Card, had to slip in through the crowds and withstand constant elbowing, pushing, and I could’ve sworn I got hit in the head by a flying plant, to bring you pictures of the opening parade. Well, wait no longer, here they are!
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One of the most unique yet sacred ceremony in Bali would be the Ngaben ceremony. This ceremony can be so colossal or can be downright ordinary depending on the social status of the dead person. A descendant of royalty’s Ngaben ceremony, for example, will be so large, it becomes a temporary tourist attraction involving lots and lots of people. This ceremony is based on local belief (Hinduism) that the body must be immediately destructed so it can return to nature faster, thus letting the soul rise to heaven. It is the construction process of this ceremony which really takes the cheese. It takes months of planning and hard work to conduct a successful Ngaben ceremony. The Ngaben ceremony involves a high aptitude of craftsmanship, which you can see from the equipment used for this particular ceremony. Lots of complicated items crafted from mostly young coconut leaves, the majestic carriage of the dead which takes days to complete, and the spiritual aura makes this ceremony one of the most sacred ceremonies known to Balinese Hindus.
I went photo-walking at the right time; it was harvest moon in Bali and I captured these golden rice fields. In Bali, the harvest moon comes around each 3 months or so; in older days, the harvest moon came each 6 months. The reason for that is because the Balinese now use prime crops (possibly the result of genetic engineering) to yield results twice as fast as its predecessor. These photos were taken around the Sembung – Baturiti area, two places which are located on the main road connecting Denpasar and Candidasa. But, you won’t find these on that particular main road; you’d have to venture off the road into the pristine village area, and keep in mind: the roads in those areas are harsh because they’re cracked here and there, leading to a very bumpy ride. I suggest you take a bike, or better yet, just hike. The specific loactions are: Cao Belayu village and the village of Leba, the former is still within Sembung area, the latter in Baturiti.