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How come every Balinese has 4 elder brothers and sisters, why Balinese spend 1/3 of their income on the religious ceremonies and more about gods and demons of the island.
Every year thousands of tourists visit the island of Bali. Some come to surf, the others want to enjoy local beauty and get a rest from the hustle and bustle of the city, while some like to suntan on the beach with a book in one hand and a coconut in the other. Despite the fact that island's life has changed drastically over the latest decades because of tourists, something remains unchanged, for example, the island's religious traditions.
Bali is a special spot in the Indonesia's religious life: while 88% of the population of the country are Muslim, 90% of Balinese are followers of "Agama Hindu Dharma" (local Hinduism tradition).
Firstly Hinduism reached Java island, a "neighbor" of Bali. There it was mixed with Buddhism and after that reached Bali in the X century when a king from Bali married a princess from Java. The Balinese have a legend that says that Hindu gods moved to Bali from Java being angry with the Javanese as many of them started to convert into Islam. According to that legend, till then Bali was quite an ordinary place. Then gods decided to make it more comfortable and "made" the mountains and the volcanoes.
Islanders think that gods live in the mountains. On the highest peak of the island, Agung volcano, there's a deity that rules kings and kingdoms. It is also thought that at the summit of Agung there's a Shiva's "residence". On the Mount Batur lives Devi Danu, a goddess of the lake that is placed near Batur and is the main resource of sweet water on the island. Sweet water cult is also important for Balinese people, as water gives life and purifies everything.
Bali Hinduism drastically differs from the Indian one. It is officially monotheistic. Above Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva a Balinese god called Ida Sanghyang Widhi Wasa is placed. This top deity is usually displayed as a man with flames going out of him. Moreover, Balinese worship not only Hindu gods but also local gods and spirits of nature.
The islanders treat gods really tremulously. They spend about 1/3 of their monthly income on the religious ceremonies. The island is famous not only for its rich religious traditions and beautiful rites, but also for its big amount of shrines. There are thousands of them on Bali. That is if you don't count the home shrines that are in every garden.
They clean such shrines every day and lay their offerings
The whole life is thought as a fight between good and evil, so an essential part of their religious conceptions is not only gods but also demons. Balinese try to lessen the influence of the dark powers on their lives, so they insinuate various demons that live there. Balinese priests know a lot of charms against evil. Every morning people leave flowers, fruits and tobacco in the baskets hoping that demons will accept the offering and go away.
Actually the Balinese try to avoid facing the dark powers. So they don't go to the crossroads at noon (it's thought that demons are hunting there at that time) and don't leave their houses at night.
It may be odd, but the islanders rarely swim near the shore. There is a popular thought that there is a different world under the ocean waves, and some misfortunes come from the sea. For example, fish turn into mice and destroy all the crop. The prove that the ocean is inhabited by dark creatures for the Balinese are venomous snakes and sharks that live in the sea.
The islanders think that a person becomes the part of the fight between good and evil on the day he is born. They believe that "older brothers" or "older sisters" will help the baby to withstand this fight. There are 4 such siblings, they're called Kanda Mpat and represent blood, umbilical cord, amniotic fluid and placenta – the terrestrial visualization of the powers that made baby's birth possible. Before a young mother starts feeding her baby with breast she pours some milk on the ground for Kanda Mpat. A person must not forget about Kanda Mpat's existence throughout his whole life, he's supposed to talk to them mentally at least for one minute before sleep, and they'll come for help in difficult times.
The beliefs of the Balinese are various. The island contains a mix of Hinduism, Buddhism, and also traditional Javanese and Balinese beliefs. Religious rites have remained unchanged for more than a century and even dramatic changes of the latest 50 years haven't been able to destroy the Balinese way of life.