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Chandler Routman May 19th, 2009 Essay 2 INDO1011


Bali is located between 8 and 9 degrees south of the Equator. To the West of Bali lies Java, and to the East of Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, Flores, and Timor. The island of Bali is very small, from the most northern point on the island to the most southern point; Bali is only fifty-five miles across, and from East to West measures only ninety miles. The geography of Bali is very unique; it is comprised of six neighboring volcanoes, abundant and lush tropical rain forests, clear crater lakes, numerous rivers, deep ravines, rice terraces, and countless fruit and vegetable gardens. The beaches in Bali are vastly different from one another. The beaches that cover the North, East and West parts of the island have black and grey volcanic sand while the beaches in the South are full of pristine white sand. Denpasar is Bali’s largest city, and where its government presides. The population of Bali is roughly around three million people and growing. The most common languages are Bahasa Indonesia (the national language) and Bali’s own language Bahasa Balinese. Islam and Christianity are the minority religions while Bali’s own version of Hindu is the most predominate form of religion. Bali is original in the sense that unlike the rest of Indonesia, Bali has remained mostly Hindu. Balinese Hindu is the combining of certain traditional and archaic forms of animism. Religion is very important to all Indonesians, but particularly so to the nation of Bali. Daily rituals are still practiced by the people as well as the ancient ceremonies, festivals, and attitudes that belonged to their ancestors. Bali is actually referred to as “the Island of the Gods”

because they worship so many. Dancing and music are huge parts of religious life in Bali. The people of Bali dance and play music to appease their Gods and Goddesses, so that they will be rewarded. Indian, Hindu, indigenous animism, and time-honored folklore are the main sources of inspiration for Balinese dance. There are three distinct categories for Balinese dance according to religious functions. Wali Dances are sacred dances that have to be preformed in the inner courtyard of temples. Rejang, Baris, Pendet, Sang Hyang Dedari, and Barong are types of Wali dances. Rejang is danced by females, Baris is the male warrior dance, Pendet is preformed by married women, Sang Hyang Dedari is used to entertain and appease the Gods and Goddesses in hopes of blessing and is preformed by young girls, and the Barong dance is a story telling dance of the battle between good and evil. Bebali dances are the second kind of dance preformed by the people of Bali. They are ceremonial dances that are preformed in the middle court of a temple. An example of this dance is called the Gambuh, which tells the story of love between a prince and a princess. Balih-bailhan dances are the third and final category of religious dancing. They are more secular than the other two and are more for entertainment. Balih-bailhan dances are preformed either in the outer court of the temple, or outside in the village. Examples of this type of dance include the Janger, Kebyar, Legong, and Kecak. Young girls who are dressed as peacocks dance the Janger. Two women who have incredibly long and beautiful black hair dance the Kebyar. The Legong tells a story and is danced by young girls. Men who beat on their bodies for music and rhythm perform the Kecak at night around a bonfire. It is believed by archaeologists that people first inhabited Bali during the Stone Age, somewhere around 2500 BC. The first Balinese people came from China, and by the time of the Bronze era (300 BC) the people of Bali had developed a very advanced system of subsistence farming. They managed to achieve this through the use of an extensive and complicated system of irrigation and rice farming; this system is still used today in the rice farms of

Bali. Remembering ancestors, and the telling of old stories and legends have made the history of Bali very extensive and well known. There are many carvings around the island depicting the ancient ancestors of the Balinese. Before the Dutch colonized Bali, it was ruled by a monarchy. During the 13th and 14th centuries, Bali bounced between being controlled by Java and by independently ruling itself. Bali was under the control of Java during the Dutch colonization. During the process of colonizing Bali, the nobles of the capital, Denpasar, dressed up in the finest clothing and jewelry they had, burnt down their homes and marched straight into the guns of the Dutch army as a form of rebellion against the Dutch. Eventually the Balinese people gave in to the threats of the Dutch and became a part of the Dutch East Indies. During February 1942, the Japanese landed on Bali. Japan never encountered any resistance from the people of Bali during its occupation of Indonesia. After Japan lost control of Indonesia and all of their territories after being defeated in World War II, the Dutch tried to regain control. There was a very violent and tumultuous war between the people of Bali and the Dutch, but the Balinese prevailed. Although Indonesia gained independence in 1945, the Dutch refused to recognize Indonesia as a sovereign country until 1949 after years of war and harsh criticism from international communities did the Dutch finally leave all of Indonesia. Bali is known for it’s world-class surfing. Surfers of all shapes, ages, sizes, and skill range flock to Bali to have a go at the pristine waves. Some of the most famous waves are called Padang-Padang, Playgrounds, and Ulwatu. Famous surfers like Taj Burrow, and Occy have made Bali a household name in the surfing community. As a result, the ocean is usually full of surfers. Bali depends on the tourism that it receives from surfers and visitors that frequent the island.