Fire, water, and flowers are the basic components of all offerings; additional items are given according to one’s profession and wealth, and the season in which they’re made. No matter what the offering, it must be of the finest ingredients and ritually cleansed before being placed. The variety is mind-boggling, in countless designs and styles. Some offerings may even be as simple as a few grains of rice placed on a banana leaf. Once you know what to look for, you begin to see offerings everywhere-in rice fields, yards, trees, and temples. Three-meter-long palm-leaf panels and scrolls, a captivating cili figure with fan-shaped headdress and long, graceful arms. Spectacular, colorful Gebogan or Banten tegeh are enormous towers of up to three meters, embellished with glass, paintings, roast ducks or chickens, suckling pigs, pig entrails, garlands of white ‘Cempaka’, and fragrant yellow Frangipany/plumeria blossoms. They’re carried on the heads of women to the temple, blessed by the Pemangku (temple priest) and sprinkled with holy water.
Gods and goddesses, who protect or threaten every act performed by a person during his or her lifetime, inhabit stone thrones and statues or simply hover in the air. Gods are often invited down to visit earth and are gorged with offerings and entertained with music and dance, but eventually they must go back to heaven. The Balinese always try to stay on the good side of all the forces. If the spirits are kept happy, the people can relax and even grow lighthearted. Children carry flowers to shrines and learn to dance at an early age to please the gods and the people.
Feasts mark special periods in an infant’s first year: three days after birth, 42 days after the first bath, 105 days after birth, and 210 days after birth-the first birthday celebration. At each stage of the agricultural cycle ceremonies are held, offerings made, and holy texts chanted. Even cockfighting was originally a temple ritual-blood spilled for the gods.
Canang Sari (Small Offering)
Offering made of palm leaf, flowers and foodstuffs are an art form associated with every ritual occasion in Bali. The Balinese belief in the forces of the invisible world dictates that offerings be created with a spirit of thankfulness and loving attention to detail. The Balinese seem never to tire of producing these colorful and highly symbolic, ephemeral creations for every ritual, from the simplest daily household offering to the gods, demons, and ancestors to massive ceremonies such as Panca Wali Krama held at Pura Besakih to purify and bring blessings upon the entire world.
Banten saiban or jotan is a daily offering that is offered everyday after cooking or before eating. It is very simple consisting of a pinch of rice with other food like vegetable or fish or meat, on a small piece of ban
ana leaf/other leaf. Due to its everyday usage so it is grouped into “Nitya Yadnya”. Actually what is offered; rice and its companion food like vegetable and meat that are cooked; that means pinch of rice is just the sample, therefore Banten Saiban is also called “Yadnya Sesa”, that means offering is a priority. Banten Saiban is offered to:
1. God / Gods, it has a philosophy to thank God for His blessing.
2. Ancestors before ‘Memukur’ ceremony are done, with the aim to ask for their protection.
3. Panca Maha Bhuta for not disturbing us.
Gebogan (a bigger offering)
Gebogan are towering offerings constructed around the base of a banana trunk. Prepared by the woman of the house hold, they are presented to the deities at temples birthdays. Typically, the first layer is composed of fruits followed by layers of rice cakes in many shapes and colors.
A Penjor is an offering in the form of a tall, decorated bamboo pole whose gracefully curving upper end is said to resemble both the tail of the barong, symbol of the goodness, and the peak of the sacred mountain, Mount Agung. Penjor are placed in front of each Balinese compound for the Galungan holiday and an also used in conjunction with important temple ceremony and life-cycle rituals. Hanging from the end of every Penjor are beautifully plaited palm leaf creations called Sampian.
When people go to a temple ceremony, most of them wearing their best traditional dress and make they as beautiful as possible to please the gods and each other. The Balinese believe the human body represents the cosmos, heavenly at the top, demonic at the bottom, with humanity in between. Their temple wardrobe and the materials they are made of reflect this belief.
“BIJA”: Putting Bija (wet rice grain) on the forehead means.
1. God has blessed us Bhakta Anugrah Sri that is welfare in the form of life seeds through their realization of Bhoga (food). In this case bija comes from the word “Wija” means “seed”, rice grain (life).
2. God has blessed Bhakta Anugrah Widya, intelligence, wisdom, brilliance, god’s holly light, therefore enable human to choose something good and bad (wiweka). In this definition bija comes from “Wijaksana” that is the sacred holly letter “Om”. Bija is made from white/yellow raw rice grains, flower fragrant water (kumkuman); it can also be added with sandal wood extract water.