Balinese symbolism explained

by Nick on December 6, 2006

by Nick | December 6th, 2006  

Balinese Agama Hindu is the backbone upon which this island’s culture rests. It has mixed elements of native animist beliefs with newer ideas coming from India, starting 2,000-3,000 years ago.


Symbols are everywhere in Balinese Agama Hindu, which are important, but often completly not recognised by westerners. One of the cultural examples that I like, is the fact that in Balinese plays, the bad guy stands, arms akimo. In Bali, that’s a no no. Placing your hands on your hips in a relaxed manner, is a sign of aggression to this day, taken directly from the religious plays.

Symbolism of a finer degree is found throughout temples, ceremonies and offerings. Murnis.com has a handy rundown of some of the symbols that come up in Balinese Agama Hindu.

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