Offering: Expression of Devotion to God or Requirement of a Ceremony
Offerings are the most visible way of Balinese in expressing their devotion to God. They make various offering for various ceremony range from the simple daily offering to the gigantic Sarad that is used in a rare and grand ceremony. The offering is an obligatory part of ceremony that no ceremony is considered complete without the presence of adequate offerings.
As a matter of fact there are various kind of offerings and a certain ceremony needs certain kinds and amount of offering that differ from other ceremonies; for example a temple anniversary needs a certain number of Suci offerings, a certain number of pregembal offerings, etc, all kinds and amounts of offerings needed in a ceremony in other words a temple anniversary ceremony will not be considered complete if all the required offerings for a temple ceremony can not be fulfilled.
This condition leads many Balinese to think that an offering is just a requirement of a ceremony. The offering is prepared just to fulfill the requirement of the ceremony not as a medium to express their devotion to the God; this leads to the neglect of the quality of the offering, as long as the required offerings are fulfilled and complete, no matter whether the flowers and leaf that are used are dry or shrunken, the meats are rotten or have awful smell, the ceremony is considered success.
Nowadays the preparation of offering for ceremony is conducted long before the day of the ceremony to give more time on the preparation, since it is hard to gather many workforces at the same time to work shortly before the day of the ceremony, so the offerings will run dry or withered even before they are presented on the day of the ceremony. There is also a growing tendency to buy the offerings for the ceremony from the offering specialist to save time and workforces for the preparation of the offerings and all that they have to do is give the money and everything is done. These phenomena are the result of the viewpoint of offering as requirement for a ceremony not as expression of our devotion to the God. Some Balinese consider offerings as burdens, not as a way to serve the Lord.
The joy of communal working in preparing the best offerings to God not just preparing “an offering” that is required for the ceremony is a thing that more and more difficult to find nowadays.