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Balinese Temple Celebrations

Balinese Temple Celebration (Odalan) Every 210 Days

The dedication or inauguration day of the temple is considered its birthday, and the celebration always takes place on the same day if the "Wuku" or 210 day calendar is used. When a new moon or full moon system is used for calculation, then the celebration is always held on a new moon or full moon. The day of course can differ. The religious celebration of a temple last at least one full day with some temples celebrating for three days, while the celebration of Besakih, the Mother temple, is never less than 7 days and most of the times last for 11 days. The celebration is very colorful. The shrines are dressed with pieces of cloth and painted brocade; salangs, decorations of carved wood and sometimes painted with gold and Chinese coins are very beautifully arranged, are hung in the four corners of the shrines.

In front of the shrines, are placed red, white or black umbrellas depending on which Gods are being worshipped in the shrines. In front of important shrines one sees, beside these umbrellas, spears, trident and other weapons, the "umbul-umbul" long flags, all of which are the "penjor" or long bamboo poles, decorated beautifully with ornaments of young coconut leaves, rice and other produc of the land. These "penjors" give the place a very festival look. Most beautiful to see are the girls in their colorful attire, carrying offering of their gorgeous arrangements of all kind of fruits and colored cakes to the temple. Every visitor admires the grace with which they carry these loads on their heads.

The offering in some area are high as the carriers, these offerings are put in front of the shrines where the owners want to worship. A priest officiates and after he has recited his prayers, he sprinkles holy water on the offering and the people, blessing them in this way. For the people during the hottest parts of the day, one usually see a group of men sitting in the shade. Surely one will see them with their fighting roosters in their hands. They caress them, massage them and occasionally they let them fight each other. This is an opportunity to train them. Cockfights originated in blood sacrifices; it is still a ceremony of blood sacrifice, but now a day cockfights are more gambling then ceremony.

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