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The Importance of Family  

by on Saturday, 31 March 2007One Comment | 7,266 views

In Balinese culture, a man and a woman is considered to be complete when they are unite to form a family that worship common ancestors in the family shrine of each Balinese household.

Family ties are consequently the most important factor in Balinese life; a continuous sequence relates the individual to his family, to his community, and to the total of the Balinese people. A Balinese woman who marries Chinese, a Muslim, or a foreigner ceases to be a Balinese.


A Balinese feels that hi most important duty is to marry as soon as he comes of age and to raise a family to perpetuate his line. A bachelor is in Bali abnormal, incomplete being devoid of all social significance since only settled married men can become the member of banjar and village association. In Bali, Even the pedanda, the high priest, must have a son to continue his line though it do not conform to the ascetic abstention favored by orthodox Hindus.

Thus, every Balinese centers all his hopes in having children, preferably male children, who will look after him in his old age, and most important of all, sons who will take the proper care of his remains after he is dead, performing the necessary rites to liberate hi soul for reincarnation, so it will not become an aimless wandering ghost. From temple relief, scripture and folktales, they are familiar with the fate awaits the childless in hell, where a woman who dies without children is condemned to carry a gigantic worm suckling at her useless breast, and for the man who fail to have a child his soul is hung on a bamboo and the trunk of that plant is constantly bitten by the soul of people who did not undergo a mesangih (tooth filling) ritual.

A man who does not obtain children from his wife has the right to divorce her; or if she dies or runs away, he remarries as soon as possible. Often the sterile wife will herself suggest and even provide for a second wife for her husband. There is another alternative, they usually meras (adopt) a child of relatives.

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