Myth in Bali

Hujan Memedi : The Demon of Bali’s Sun Showers

Myth in Bali | Mar 31, 2021

Have you ever wondered how it can rain when the sun is shining? Whilst science has its explanations, Balinese folklore has its very own colourful story behind this phenomenon. We all have heard some strange answers as to why it happens. One popular saying, with southern United States origins, indicates the devil is ‘kissing his […]

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Patung Bayi : The Myth of Bali’s Crying Baby Statue

Myth in Bali | Oct 15, 2020

A giant baby sits cross-legged facing southwards on the main road of Sakah in Sukawati — and it’s hard to miss its wide stone-head towering over you. Its catus pata location (the centre of an area, often deemed sacred) makes it a symbolic monument but when it was built 30 years ago, not a soul […]

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The ‘Brave’ Monkeys of Uluwatu Temple: A Bali Myth

Myth in Bali | Aug 25, 2020

Pura Luhur Uluwatu is notoriously inhabited by long-tail macaques. Legend has it, these indigenous monkeys were once brave warriors to the Hindu high-priest who built the temple. Behind the tourist charm of the sea temple lie stories that may remain as myths. Perched on the edge of a limestone cliff jutting into the Indian Ocean, […]

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In the Name of Love: Bali’s Notorious ‘Love Magic’

Culture | Aug 05, 2020

Whilst witchcraft was largely condemned in the ancient west, professional magic practitioners are widespread in Bali even today. With black magic being a popular resort to attract love, bending another’s will for admiration is not an uncommon practice on the island. Should we be worried? The old Indonesian saying ‘cinta ditolak, dukun bertindak’ (when love […]

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The Bali Break-Up Curse

Culture | Jul 03, 2020

Planning a romantic holiday normally entails the thrill of chasing idyllic destinations and intimate activities. Thanks to a folktale circulating online, the Bali ‘breakup curse’ is digested as more than just a myth. It has seen couples discarding travel plans, dismissing the true beauty of the island. Have you come across stories about the couple’s […]

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Lembu Putih Taro : Holy White Cows of Taro Village

Culture | Jun 09, 2020

When cows provide beef and dairy elsewhere in the world, this Balinese village worships white bovines and uses their urine as medicine. What’s so sacred about them? There is a Balinese term ‘mule keto’ that loosely translates to the familiar saying ‘it is what it is.’ If one questions a local as to why things […]

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Atma Kesasar: Dangers of a Lost Soul

Culture | May 15, 2020

Did you know, it’s possible for one to ‘lose their soul’ in Bali. From unfinished death rites to falling unconscious, souls can lose their connection and wander among us. In Bali, Hinduism takes a different form from its Indian counterpart. One of the clearest distinctions is their interpretation of reincarnation. In India, depending on one’s […]

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A Bali Myth: Knock-Knock, Who’s There?

Culture | Apr 18, 2020

On the island, if a ‘knock knock’ comes to you late at night, mid-slumber, it might just be a visitor from another realm. .. You may have heard of the old superstition that says hearing three knocks in the dead of night, with seemingly no cause, means death is at your doorstep. You might have […]

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A Balinese Ghost Story

Culture | Mar 19, 2020

According to this Balinese legend, if you witness a white sheet flying towards you, it’s time to run! We’re all familiar with ghost stories. The haunted tales exchanged by the fire after midnight. The one about the creak of floorboards, the mystery of displaced furniture, the distressed ululations of a woman far in the distance. […]

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Madiksa: A Priest’s Second Birth

Culture | Feb 13, 2020

To become a Balinese Hindu high priest, or sulinggih, prospective priests must first go through the madiksa ritual. Some refer to it as a ‘death ritual’, as for the priest to be reborn as a new, cleansed man or woman, he or she must first “die”. A prerequisite to become a Catholic priest is being […]

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