Bali – Balinese Traditional Clothing and Etiquette
Balinese culture is nothing short of enchanting. If you’ve always wanted to witness a Balinese religious ceremony, you could always visit a Bali temple to see prayers taking place, you need wear sort of Bali traditional clothing and having some etiquette.
The best time to do so is when a large ceremony is being held, such as during full moons or also known as Purnama by locals.
There are over 20,000 temples – or Pura – in Bali. The major ones are readily open to tourists like the Mother Temple Pura Besakih, Pura Lempuyang, Pura Tanah Lot, Pura Luhur Uluwatu, Pura Tirta Empul and Pura Ulun Danu Beratan.
If you’re planning to visit, please keep in mind that temples are holy places. Here are some easy-to-remember tips on how to dress when visiting temple and some common etiquette that you should follow on your next temple excursion:
Cover Your Body
This means no bikinis, bikini tops or crop tops. Your top should cover your shoulders at a minimum.
Colors for Balinese
The common colors that used in Balinese traditional clothing is white and yellow, as it represents purity. Dark colors like brown, purple, or red are usually used in special occasion like weddings or local events. Black, as in most of people know, are used at funeral.
You will find some people using black clothes when visiting temples, they are called Pecalang. Pecalang has the responsibility to secure the event or ritual and they are very respected by the locals.
Wear a Sarong
It is a must to wear a sarong and a sash. Both are considered as a common traditional clothing for Balinese that used on any occasions.
Don’t have one? Don’t worry – you can always get a pair at the temple’s entrance. The sarong should cover your knees, and the sash should be tied around your waist.
Mind Your Feet
Feet are considered unclean in Bali as in most Asian cultures. While in a temple, sit with your feet tucked underneath you and not pointing towards any altar. Also, do not ever climb onto an altar for a selfie, no matter how “Instagrammable” you think it could be.
Watch The Priest
The priest or Mangku will be sitting at an altar during prayers. Don’t try to sit next to him, or higher than him. You must also never stand or sit directly in front of him, no matter how great the photo opportunity might be.
Additional Tips! Do not enter a temple if you’re in your period
Menstruating women and women who had just given birth are not allowed to enter temples. While there won’t be an actual strip search, please be respectful of the local culture and take this rule to heart as it is a matter of spiritual cleanliness. Men and women with open wounds are also not allowed to enter temples.
It is always a treat to visit Bali, Indonesia’s most popular island destination. In addition to its mesmerizing natural beauty, the island’s food, culture and tradition are reason enough for a holiday to the Island of a Thousand Temples.