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Pagerwesi Day

On September 29' 2010, Balinese Hindu celebrates Pagerwesi Day.

pagerwesiLiterally the word Pagerwesi means 'iron fence' - pager (fence) and wesi (iron) - and reflects the purpose of this important event: it is the day to strengthen one's fortifications against evil. The correlation between Pagerwesi and the Saraswati Day is that knowledge is so powerful that it must be protected from the bad influences. Pagerwesi Day reminds people to be wise and more aware of the function and power of knowledge.

The Pagerwesi occur every 210 days on Wednesday Kliwon Sinta (the first Wednesday in Balinese Pawukon calendar). The celebration is based on the ancient scripture, Sundarigama, which stated that Budha Kliwon Shinta Ngaran Pagerwesi payogan Sang Hyang Pramesti Guru kairing ring watek Dewata Nawa Sanga ngawerdhiaken sarwa tumitah sarwatumuwuh ring bhuana kabeh, means Wednesday Kliwon Shinta is known as Pagerwesi, when Sanghyang Pramesti Guru (God as Supreme Teacher) with Dewata Nawa Sanga (Gods that protect nine directions) meditate for the welfare of all being in the world.

kids prossesion

On this day, Balinese make and present special offerings to the Sanghyang Pramesti Guru (God as Supreme Teacher) as a sign of gratitude to the God as Supreme teacher and the gods of nine directions for their meditation. Another offering is also presented to the holy spirit of each family's ancestors, a ceremony and prayers are held at respective family temple as well as at village temples throughout the island. All members of the family also make a visit to their deceased family member that has not been cremated in the cemetery.

In India itself, Pagerwesi is known as Guru Puja or Guru Purnima and has similar meaning but celebrate in different way and different day, Guru Puja is come every Purnama Kasa or the first new moon every year.

There is a great difference on manner and scale of festivity in celebrating Pagerwesi between south Bali and North Bali. In South Bali, Pagerwesi is celebrated modestly and with little pomposity and festivity. However, in Singaraja area - north Bali, people celebrate it feverishly. Pigs and chicken are killed and cooked into various traditional Balinese dishes, make a visit to the relative and give a sumptuous feast to the visiting relatives are obligatory. Penjor is erected in every house compound's gate. North Bali Singaraja is full with celebration and festivity, and could be phenomenal.

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The Celebration of Knowledge - Saraswati Day

Dewi Saraswati is the Goddess of knowledge and wisdom, symbolized by a beautiful woman with four hands, riding on a white swan among water lilies to tell humanity that science is like a beautiful woman. Her hands hold a palm leaf; a lontar, (a Balinese traditional book which is the source of science or knowledge); a genitri (chain with 108 pieces) symbolizing that knowledge is never ending and has an everlasting life cycle; and a musical instrument (guitar or wina) symbolizing that science develops through the growth of culture. The swans symbolize prudence, so that one's knowledge may distinguish between good and evil and the water lilies (Lotus) are symbols of holiness. The Lotus flower is the holiest for Balinese.


Literally the word Saraswati means 'the essence of the self' ; sara means essence, swa means self. Dewi Saraswati is represented in Hindu mythology as the divine consort of Lord Brahma, the Creator of the universe. Since knowledge is necessary for creation, Saraswati symbolizes the creative power of Brahma. Goddess Saraswati is worshipped by all persons interested in knowledge, especially students, teachers, scholars, and scientists.

saraswati offeringsSaraswati Day is celebrated every 210-days on Saniscara Umanis Wuku Watugunung based on Balinese Pawukon (cycles) calendar. Saraswati Day honors the knowledge that is bestowed on mankind. It is believed that without science and art it is impossible to create anything new on this earth. On the actual day of Saraswati , offering are placed on the books and shrines. Worships are held at the temples in family compound, villages, businesses and others from morning to noon. Prime worships are held in school's temples attended by its student and teachers. In the afternoon and evening is a good time to held religious discussion. Many Balinese try to refrain from reading or writing on this special ceremonial day.

In schools and institutes of education all around the island students gather early in the morning dressed in their ceremonial finery for a session of communal prayer. Resource books are piled high and blessed with offering of fruit, flowers and a sprinkling of holy water. Students take this opportunity to pray for guidance with future studies and to lead a harmonious life that adheres to the basic guidelines of Hinduism.

The following day of Saraswati is called Banyupinaruh, a day to have spiritual and physical cleansing. Normally Balinese will go to nearby beaches or water spring or river to have the special bathing. Worship will also be held in the village temples or other respective temples afterward.

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One of the most reasons why people love Bali is because of the hospitality. Balinese always welcome you to enjoy their beautiful island with the unique culture and tradition.

Panyembrama is Balinese welcome dance. The dance was performed for the first time at the Pandaan Festival in 1971, and now Panyembrama Dance is not only performed on the commercial stage, but is also performed as the opening dance of religious ceremonies in temples.

After spending many years learning Balinese dance and traditional instruments, I Wayan Berata made a composition for a new dance called Panyembrama, 1963. The name of the dance comes from the Balinese word for welcome.

The dance is danced by two or more female dancers wrapped in Tapih (layers of cloth), kamben (sarong), and belt (a long cloth which bandages the body from waist till chest). These are colorful traditional Balinese fabrics which are adorned with golden motifs called prada. The dancer's hair is decorated with frangipani and gold flowers. They are just like angels floating down from the sky.

panyembrama danceThe dancers' movements follow vibrant gamelan. They enter the stage slowly. Their smiles set nicely on their vividly made up faces. Their wide eyes look more spectacular and mysterious with a touch of vivid black eyeliner. Their slow steps emphasize their exotic curvaceous bodies. According to the creator, all the routines in the Panyembrama dance are the combination of basic routines of Balinese dance such as Legong Keraton and Condong. Although this dance has no story to tell but it is still very attractive since the classic moves and smile of the dancers create a charming nuance.

Roses, frangipani, and other flowers play an important role in this dance. The dancers carry a bokor, an engraved bowl made from silver or aluminum, laden with flowers. There are two unique routines in this dance. The first one is when the dancers bend to their knees and make a gesture as if they are praying in Balinese Hindu way.

Actually this routine is designed to wish for blessing from God so the dancer may dance perfectly and the audience will get charmed by the dance.

tari panyembrama

The second routine is when all the dancers make a round movement and scatter the flowers over the guests as an expression of welcome. This routine is also a sign that the performance is finished and you have spent more or less seven minutes enjoying the performance, but it can seem like a timeless moment.

This is how the Balinese welcome their guests and is how Bali Anjani Vacations welcome you as our Balinese family.

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Kuta Party Nights

Thanks to Dewi (nowbali.co.id) for sharing her story…

bali barIt is often by Thursday night when our crew is ready to hit the night lights. Weekends can be busy and Thursday feels more local. What better way to start the night then having a few drinks at La Vida Loca Bar, on Blue Ocean beach, at the end of Double Six Rd. The live music starts from 10pm onwards. This Thursday we had a plan and there were a few events we wanted to catch, so after chatting up a few European visitors e we had a bit of a dance before moving on to Dejavu for a Fashion Show featuring the "Pygmees" label.

Dejavu is also a beachfront night club. It is about 50 meters away from La Vida Loca and has a wide open area that allows the night sea breeze through. The d├ęcor is modern with lots of roomy couches where you can rest your feet or socialize. The music is also modern; electronic and techno. The place was really crowded when they started the show. They had prepared a wooden catwalk through the centre of the club, elevated quite high so that everyone was able to see the models.

Pretty soon after we arrived, the music changed and the models came out one by one, walking the catwalk, so fierce and beautiful. Pygmees style is colorful and loud using lots of circles and pastel colors on elegantly cut dresses. The show lasted about 20 minutes. Once it was over everyone cheered and went back to dancing.

bali double six

We then decided to go hit Kuta, it was almost 2 o'clock and we didn't want to miss the bikini show in M Bar Go. We caught a cab and joined the traffic to Kuta, even at this time of night there is plenty of action at this end of town.

It was exhilarating seeing all the sexy ladies in their bikinis dancing on the bar! It's a great show and everyone got into it. The girls set the party in motion and after the show everyone was on the dance floor. With the music changing from house to hip hop there is something for everyone. We joined in and had a blast. There is one thing for sure, if you know anyone in Bali there is a good chance you will run into them at M Bar Go. It is the place to see and to be seen. We worked our charm and got a few free drinks from some nice looking lads from Down Under. Then we grabbed an open couch to chill out a bit and chat with our new admirers.

bali night life

Once the drinks were getting low the guys wanted to head back to the dance floor. Well, I guess they earned a dance or two, so we indulged and got back out there. We got our groove on for another hour or so then decided we had had enough. It is only Thursday after all. We were all hungry so we hit the king of late night foods, McDonalds. There is nothing like a greasy double cheeseburger and fries to soak up all those drinks. With a full tummy and legs sore from dancing we headed home where I fell into a deep dreamless sleep that can only be reached after a fun filled night and plenty to drink!

See you next Thursday?

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Selamat Idul Fitri 1431H

Dari lubuk hati yang terdalam... kami keluarga besar Bali Anjani Vacations mengulurkan tangan untuk meminta maaf atas segala kesalahan di hari-hari kemarin...

idul fitri

Selamat merayakan Hari Kemenangan
Mohon Maaf Lahir dan Batin

Ikhlaskan maafmu bersama-sama di sini...

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Barong and Kriss Dance

A straight forward battle between good and bad : The Barong dance is the classic story of good (the Barong) triumphing over evil (the witch Rangda).

The villages of Batubulan as well as Tegaltamu and Singapadu, small towns located 30 minutes from Denpasar, are known for putting on the best performances. There is, however, more to the Barong dance than the folkloristic dimension. It is, in fact, an integral part of the island's culture and has an evident sacred connotation. It isn't rare, in fact, to see the Balinese dancing the Barong during their religious ceremonies, regardless of the presence of tourists.

The Barong is a strange creature, half shaggy dog, and half lion, propelled by two men like a circus clown-horse. The widow-witch Rangda is bad though and certainly not the sort of thing you'd like to meet on a midnight stroll through the rice paddies.

barong dance

The Barong dance is truly a triumphant display of bright colors and graceful movements.
Inspired by an episode taken from Mahabharata, an epic poem written in Sanskrit. The dance evolves around the character of the Barong, the king of the jungle. A mythical animal, he is the symbol of virtue and good, subject to the continuous struggle against the evil forces that threaten life and the integrity of the forest, this being an element very dear to the Balinese population.

In detail, the Barong embodies everything that can be beneficial to man, and help him defeat illness; black magic and any other kind of misfortune. The evil entity against which he must relentlessly fight is personified by Rangda, queen of death and devourer of children. She is characterized by a dark and gloomy mask from which a red tongue of fire hangs. The entire dance is centered on the struggle between these two rival characters.

The Barong is interpreted by two dancers whose rhythmic movements bring to life the beautiful and elaborate costume they wear. A large animal head skillfully carved out of wood, brightly colored in red, white, black and gold. It is adorned with a crown extending outwards from the sides of the head, and by a prominent necklace which hangs from the neck, the final touch of the costume is a tail made out of bison leather which is elaborately finished and quilted.

The first character to appear on the stage is the Barong with his swaying gait: his dance is meant to express the joy of living. He is followed by a group of armed supporters who stand ready to defend him.

When Rangda strikes her terrible blows, it isn't at all rare for the dancers playing the Barong's followers to become so engrossed in the sacredness of the performance that they go into a real trance. A cloud of characters surround the Barong on stage. Rangda, goddess of death, personification of evil, the young girl servant Kalika; Dewi Kunti, queen of the kingdom of Hastina and her stepson Sadewa who will be sacrificed in order to placate the anger of Rangda, the minister Dewi Kunti; Patih who expresses sorrow for the fate of Sadewa (Rangda will have to enter his soul in order to make him accept the sacrifice), and then the monkey supporters of the Barong, producers of palm tree wine (nira).

The end of the Barong dance is like an entirely separate performance. Also known as the Kriss dance, it is named after the famous Males dagger. The idea is based on the philosophical concept Rwa Bhineda : good and bad, evil and goodness which have always been present and have always existed together albeit in a constant and inevitably un resolved conflict.

Nothing will change in the future. While man is left free to try to develop his positive attitudes and let them win over the negative ones, he must nonetheless resign himself to the fact that the presence of both good and evil is a law of nature and as such must be accepted.

When the dance is performed, Rangda is the evil spirit which enters the bodies of his victims and pushes them to the edge of suicide. The dancers are armed with a kriss. Rangda insults Barong and taunts the men- enraged and in a trance they attack her! But her powers are so strong that they are knocked out. When they come to they are so distressed by their failure that they try to impale themselves on their kriss. But their trance state amazingly protects them from injury.

Somebody can die or get seriously injured in a Barong dance. It is said that if Rangda's spell is too strong, a weak soldier may not be able to resist it, even with the help of Barong. He may end up hurting himself with his own kriss.

A very important element in the entire dance is the large orchestra, known as gamelan, which is essential to underscore the ritual nature of the performance. Many are the instruments that make up the orchestra: some metal xylophones which stand out not only because they are so numerous but because of their powerful and imperious sound; there are also drums as well as flutes, the rebab (a type of violin) and the gender (typical xylophones). All together, these instruments are essential in guiding the dance and underscoring the rhythm of well coordinated movements. These along with the joyful colors are the most alluring elements of this remarkable performance.

At the end of the dance, the masks of the Barong and of Rangda, as proof of their sacred nature, are stowed in a special room inside the temple. They are covered very carefully, especially Rangda's mask, because its deadly powers are greatly feared. It's a way of saying that the ritual victory of the Barong, that is of good, which marks the end of the dance, is only temporary: tomorrow the eternal and unresolved conflict could begin again.

The masks of Barong and Rangda are considered sacred items, and before they are brought out, a priest must be present to offer blessings by sprinkling them with holy water taken from Mount Agung, and offerings must be presented.

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