The culture of Bali is unique. People say that the Balinese people have reached self-content. It is not an exaggeration that when a Balinese is asked what heaven is like, he would say, just like Bali, without the worries of mundane life. They want to live in Bali, to be cremated in Bali when they die, and to reincarnate in Bali.
It does not mean that the Balinese resist changes. Instead, they adapt them to their own system. This goes back far in history. Prior to the arrival of Hinduism in Bali and in other parts of Indonesia, people practised animism. When Hinduism arrives, the practice of Hinduism is adapted to local practices. The brand of Hinduism practised in Bali is much different from that in India. Other aspects of life flow this way.
The Balinese are an extremely devote and spiritual mix. In Bali there are over 10,000 temples.
The Balinese believe that good spirits dwell in the mountains and that the seas are home to demons.
Therefore, most villages have at least three main temples: one of which is the Pura Puseh or ‘temple of origin’, is dedicated to the village founders and which faces to Mt Agung – home to Pura Besakih the mother temple on Bali.
Also, each home, rice field or market can have several temples and as well as rice fields. Daily offerings are made at these temples in the form of food, cigarettes, sweets and sometimes even money in order to honor the good spirits and satiate the evil spirits.
Balinese society is founded on the Hindu caste system, though there are several differences. For example, the Balinese do not have untouchables. Instead in Bali, there are four castes; Sundras, the peasants who comprise over 90% of the population, Wesias , the warrior caste, which also includes traders and some nobility, Satrias, the caste of kings, and Pedanas, the holy men and priests (brahman). Amazingly, each caste has its own language; a separate dialect exists to enable someone to address one of unknown caste to avoid disrespect. Luckily, to prevent confusion, the national language of Indonesia (Bahasa Indonesia), is taught in schools and enables everyone generally to communicate with one another.
There are two sub-classes in Bali called the Subak and the Banjar. The Subak controls who will plant rice and when (plantings are staggered so that pestilence is minimized). All farmers or rice paddy owners must join the Subak in their village. As well and more importantly the Subak ensures that all farmers receive just amounts of irrigation water. Meanwhile, the Banjar are in charge of all other aspects of Balinese life such as marriages, cremations, community service and festivals.
In Bali, the birth of a child is attended by the entire family, and a holy man who invokes spiritual powers and aids the delivery. Balinese are named according to its order in the family; Wayan for the first born, Made for the second, Nyoman for the third and Ketut for the fourth. The names are repeated for more than four children.