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Balinese Culture

Caste system

In Bali, the caste system comes from the Hindu traditions of Java. - The Sudra caste (peasants); -the Brahmins (the high priests) -the Ksatriyasa (the merchants) -Wesia (nobles or officials) -Satria (warriors and caste of the king)

The Balinese first names

First names are linked to the caste system. The Balinese believe in the influence of names on the character of the bearer. Therefore, they avoid giving names with a bad connotation or denoting a cruel figure in a story. All Balinese names make sense. There are 4 first names according to the caste they are assigned according to the order of the births: Here are the four names of the Balinese of the Sudra caste: The first child will be called Wayan who means the oldest. The 2nd child will be called Made means “middle”. The 3rd child will be called Nyoman means new or young The fourth child will be named Ketut. If there’s a fifth child, we start over on the first.

The Balinese families

All generations live together in a traditional Balinese family. The last boy has to stay with the parents to take care of them. If he starts a family, his wife and children must also move in with the parents


For Balinese clothes are impure. It is not necessary to pass under clotheslines. Before going to the temple, it is first necessary to wash, and to put a belt to separate the pure parts (the upper part of the body) and impure (the lower part of the body) from the body (slings, etc.)The traditional men’s outfit consists of a white jacket and a sarong around the waist, then covered with another fabric, another color, and finally a turban on the head with two petals, symbolizing good and evil. The women are wearing a bun, like Princess Drupadi, the wife of one of the Pandawa brothers, in Mahabharata. They must be even better dressed at ceremonies.

Rice production

Legend has it that a Balinese king, King Petru, received rice seeds as a gift from a god. The goddess Sri, the wife of the god Vishnu had to hide inside to protect them from a giant woman who wanted to steal them from Petru. Since that day Sri has become the goddess of rice, and many temples are dedicated to her, especially in the rice fields. Since that day, rice is sacred in Bali, and everyone eats it at every meal. Planting takes place 3 times a year. The irrigation system is very old and very advanced, managed by a community of peasants, called the “subak”. Everyone waits his turn to flood his field and start the harvest...


There is no dining table in traditional Balinese houses. Balinese eat anywhere in the house with their plates. Hold the plate with the clean left hand, and take the food with the right hand (the “tangan Manis”), without cutlery. If it’s a soup, they use a spoon. But they never use the knife because the food is all pre-cut. White rice is the basis of all meals, including breakfast. Balinese eat little meat and fish, but a lot of vegetables. On festive days, they eat chicken and on special occasions, roasted pig, Babi Guling and chicken, pork and fish skewers (Sate Lilit). For dessert, the specialty is Bubur Injin, a black rice cake sprinkled with coconut milk and banana tips on top. You will notice that the Balinese love very colorful and fluorescent cakes!

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