BALI island is a truly International destination, a tropical island in the Indonesian archipelago
Bali is one of an Indonesian thousand islands located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. It is one of the country's 33 provinces with the provincial capital at Denpasar towards the south of the island.
With a population recorded as 3,551,000 in 2009, the island is home to the vast majority of Indonesia's small Hindu minority. About 93.2% of Bali's population adheres to Balinese Hinduism, while most of the remainder follow Islam. It is also the largest tourist destination in the country and is renowned for its highly developed arts, including dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking and music. The origins of the Balinese came from three periods: The first waves of immigrants came from Java and Kalimantan in the prehistoric times of the proto-Malay stock; the second wave of Balinese came slowly over the years from Java during the Hindu period; the third and final period came from Java, between the 15th and 16th centuries, at the time of the conversion of Islam in Java, aristocrats fled to Bali from the Javanese Majapahit Empire to escape Islamic conversion, reshaping the Balinese culture into a syncretic form of classical Javanese culture with many Balinese elements.
It's certain that Bali has been populated since early prehistoric times, but the oldest human artefacts found are 3000-year-old stone tools and earthenware vessels from Cekik. Not much is known of Bali during the period when Indian traders brought Hinduism to the Indonesian archipelago, but the earliest written records are stone inscreptions dating from around the 9th century. By that time, rice was being grown under the complex irrigation system known as subak, and there were precursors of the religious and cultural traditions that can be traced to the precent day.
Bali's Culture strips the cliche from the word unique. The version of Hinduism practiced with great fervour is found no place else in the world and has inspired fervent artistic expressions that charms visitors.
The population in Bali is almost all Indonesian; 95% are of Balinese Hindu descent and could be described as ethnic Balinese. The remaining residents are mostly from other parts of the country, particularly java.
balinese have traditional caste divisions that resemble the Indian Hindu system, although there are no 'untouchables'. Nor is there separation of labour based on caste, except for the Brahmana priesthood. Over 90% of the population belong to the common Sudra caste, which now includes many wealthy Balinese. The main significance of caste is in religious roles and rituals, and its influence on Balinese language.
The traditional Balinese society is intensely communal; the organisation of villages, the cultivation of farmlands and even the creative arts are mommunal efforts. A person belongs to their family, clan, caste and to the village as a whole. The roles of the sexes are fairly well delineated, with certain tasks handled by women and others reserved for men. For instance, the running of the household is very much the woman's task, while caring for animals is mostly a male preserve.
Balinese society is held together by collective responsibility. If a woman enters a temple while menstruating, for instance, it is a kind of irreverence, an insult to the gods, and their displeasure falls not just on the transgressor but on the whole community. This collective on the individual to conform to adat - the traditional values and customs that form the cor of society.
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