Travelling is an activity that can be so nourishing to the soul as it’s a way to witness different cultures and details that spark your curiosity. Something that I’ve noticed over here in Bali which has particularly triggered my interest is the ritual of Canang Sari, or in other words: Balinese sacred offerings.
Everything about this local ritual is so inspiring that I felt I had to turn it into a post …and a little mixed-media illustration to go with it! After all, this blog serves our visual diary and I want to make sure that it’s made of memories and inspiring things worth keeping… and sharing. I hope this will inspire you in a way or another 🙂
When visiting Bali, it’s practically impossible not to stumble on these little offerings. They are placed everywhere and they’re very colourful. When you have a closer look at them, you notice just how carefully crafted they are – this totally triggered by attention and so from this moment on, I started reading about it and observing those rituals when I could catch a glimpse. They are basically little trays handcrafted from a palm leaf – sometimes square, sometimes in fancier shapes. They hold flowers with beautiful bold colors, rice and incense.
As much as this can sound simple, it’s not: every material used to make these offerings has a particular meaning – the flowers are always picked in a certain color and placed in a specific direction (east, south, west, north) to symbolize different Hindu Gods (Shiva, Brahma, Mahadeva, Vishnu).
These little offerings are part of daily life and a form of gratitude for the peace given to the world. The philosophy behind them is self-sacrifice, as they take time and effort to prepare – yet Balinese women carefully craft them every day and place them in Balinese temples but also in front of houses and everywhere else, as a part of a larger offering. I love watching them when they do it. It’s a beautiful simple act and the smell of incense that lingers after it is so soothing.
Whether you’re religious or not, there’s something about such rituals that makes them feel like they are stopping time. It certainly felt like that for me. In these fast-paced days, we sometimes feel like life is passing us by so fast, but having such rituals or even just observing them done by others is a way to cultivate the beauty and purpose of the present moment.
Wish you all a lovely weekend – and I hope this will inspire you to find your own rituals to make (or observe) 🙂