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Canang Offerings  

by on Monday, 13 March 20064 Comments | 5,844 views

An offering is something tangible, presented to appease the Gods in times of prayer. Philosophically, an offering is a sort of self sacrifice. One spends a significant amount of time and money in making an offering, putting something of oneself into it.

The most common form of offering that is seen everywhere in Bali on a daily basis is known as canang. It placed in temples, shrines and strategic locations of importance with a waft from a stick of incense and sprinkle of holy water. Shop keepers place this kind of flower offering in front of their stall upon opening up for trade and taxi drivers invariably have one on the dashboard of their vehicle.

As all offerings in Bali are made from natural things, canang is formed from a coconut palm leaf square basket filled with a slice of banana or sugar cane, a few grains of rice, a betel quid, vibrant hues of flowers and shredded leaf on top.

Canang

In many rural villages around Bali canang offerings are still made by obtaining the raw components from within the family compound. However, today in urban areas canang can easily be bought from vendors at a traditional marketplace. This is a thriving home industry for many Balinese women who have recognized that some households are simply too busy to make their own daily offerings.

Another simple Balinese offering called saiban is performed every morning once the family food has been prepared. Small portions of leaf are placed on a tray and topped with a sprinkle of salt, a few grains of rice and some shredded coconut (or a tiny piece of the food that has just been cooked). This is then placed in the family shrine and presented to God in appreciation for the food that is about to be consumed.

Saiban

Even as the island succumbs to a modern way of life, the art of making the most common form of offerings is still something that almost any young Balinese girl is able to do. This is an inherited practice, along with the duty to take care of the family shrine, which has been passed down through the generations.

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