Canang Sari: An Offering to the Gods

Walk down any street in the Kuta area and in fact, anywhere in Bali and you will see on the pavements small, square-woven coconut leaf trays with an adornment of flowers and other things. These are offerings to the Gods known as Canang Sari. The phrase canang sari is derived from the words sari (essence) and canang.

All manner of animal love them and no sooner are they placed in offering, their contents are devoured; except of course the flowers. Canang sari are offered every morning by devout Balinese to show gratitude to the creator – Sang Hyang Widi Wasa. On your sojourn in Bali don’t freak out if you step on one although I always try and avoid doing this.

A canang sari consists of coconut leaves, flowers, sliced banana, rice kernels, fragrances, and bamboo strips. Flowers and foodstuff are an art form associated with every ritual in Bali. These various elements are the most essential media of sacrifice in Hinduism. The canang sari shape and size differ in the form and function. Some of them are triangles, squares and circle.

They truly are beautifully created and it is the Balinese belief believe in the forces of the invisible worlds that dictates offerings be created with a spirit of thankfulness and loving attention to detail. Canang sari can be found everywhere; in household temples and houses, cross roads, shops, temples and other places of worship and sacred statues; in fact, any place the Balinese believe sacred.