By Creezy Courtoy, Anthropologist and IPF Founder and Chair
All of nature is sacred to those with animist beliefs, and so the abundant beauty of Bali’s natural world is deeply revered.
If you've ever been to Bali, you've likely seen small, woven baskets filled with colorful flowers, incense, and other small offerings. These are called Canang Sari, and they're an essential part of Balinese Hinduism
Canang Sari is a form of daily offering made by the Balinese people, usually placed in front of homes, temples, and other holy places. The word "Canang" comes from the Javanese word "Cenang," which means a small palm-leaf container. "Sari" means essence, thus, Canang Sari is a small basket filled with offerings that symbolize the essence of life.
The basket itself is made from young coconut leaves that are woven into a square shape. The Balinese people believe that everything in the basket is symbolic, and each element represents a different aspect of life.
The flowers, which are usually frangipani or other local flowers, represent purity, while the rice grains represent prosperity and gratitude. The betel nut and leaves symbolize the preservation of the five senses, while the lime represents health and beauty. The incense stick represents the connection between humans and the divine.
Making Canang Sari offerings is a daily ritual that is deeply ingrained in Balinese Hinduism. Every day, the Balinese people wake up early to prepare the offering, with some even waking up as early as 4 am to make sure they have enough time to complete their daily rituals.
After preparing the offering, it is placed in a specific location, usually in front of the house or temple. It is a sign of respect to walk around the offering and not step on it, and the offering is usually replaced with a new one every day.
It represents the essence of life and is a symbol of gratitude, purity, and prosperity. It's a daily reminder to the Balinese people to be grateful for what they have and to always strive to maintain a connection with nature and the divine.
The Balinese make daily offerings as a way to express their devotion to the gods and to maintain a sense of balance and harmony in their lives. In Balinese Hinduism, it is believed that everything in the world, including inanimate objects, has a spirit or essence.
These offerings are a selfless act of devotion and gratitude for the peace and balance in the world, given to the gods each morning and renewed each day; with the ritual sealed with a prayer carried to the gods on incense smoke.
It’s but a small part of the ritual-rich traditions and cultural customs of Bali, but one that truly captures the spirit of the smiling Balinese people.
Authors are gardening and essential oils experts in a variety of categories including distillation, plants healing and cleansing properties.