Finding Bali in the Church
That day was December 25th. All Christians went to the church on that morning including the member of this family; a family who lived in the western area of Bali, Jembrana regency. I little bit shocked knowing what was worn by my friend’s mother. She worn a costume as if she wanted to go to Pura; worn Kebaya (Balinese traditional costume), kamen (Balinese traditional costume to cover the leg), completed with Sanggul (Indonesian wig) attaching to her head. To my astonishment, my friend, Cecilia said “That is so common, don’t be so serious!” and I was just fascinated.
Her father also wear Balinese costume and destar (head dress which is usually used by Hindu to go to Pura) circled his head. Cecilia said that her parents are in duty to bring the offering so they have to wear Balinese costume. She admitted that their parents wear special costume when there are special days such as Christmas and Easter. Not only in Jembrana, Tri Tunggal Maha Maha Kudus Tuka church in Tuka Village, Dalung, also has the same point.
Indeed, churches in Bali try to infuse Balinese culture in their activities and the ornament of building. Still in the same church, Tri Tunggal Maha Kudus Tuka has a gate (gapura) with special feature of Balinese architecture. Moreover, St. Yoseph and Roh Kudus Babakan use meru style roof. Meru is storied roof which is usually applied in holy building in Pura. In addition relief in the church wall use the Balinese ornament.
Some churches like St. Yoseph and St. Theresia Tangeb use one and more Balinese ornaments inside. Gebogan (fruit offering which is specially decorated so that it is not just offering but artistic offering) is also placed in the church. Penjor, a Balinese symbol of gratitude to the God which is created when Galungan day also stands in front of the church door. Meanwhile, Balinese umbrella, which is usually used to shade the holy building of Hindu, set up there in both side of altar. The interior is so Balinese.
Another Balinese culture that is used in church is gamelan. In one of church in Tuka, gamelan plays a big role to arouse people’s enthusiasm in singing and praising God. One astonishing thing that there is a religious song and bible translated into Balinese so that Christians who are from native people can follow the church activity and of course through the translated Bible they can wholly understand about it.
In fact, church in Bali had combined its activities and architecture with Balinese culture. Although most of Balinese cultures are applied in Hindu activity but we can still find Bali inside the church. And I guess I need not to be confused any more seeing people wear Balinese costume to go to the church as if they want to go to Pura since Balinese culture is owned by Balinese whose members has various faith.