What are these baskets on the ground?

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Updated on 01/06/2018

When visiting Bali, the island of the gods and demons, you will very quickly see the many small offerings that are all over the floor, on walls or in shrines. It is called Canang Sari and usually is a small quadratic basket woven from palm or banana leaves and includes flowers, oils, salt, money and cookies. On the way to your villa, you will also see a lot of these. Read on to find out about the cultural meaning of the offerings.

Bali offering

What’s the meaning of Canang sari?

Balinese people are a really harmonic folk and especially always try to be in harmony with their gods. They have two ways to try of living in harmony: Ask the good for assistance and appease the evil. For this reason, you can find the Canangs on all possible conflict points such as crossroads or bridges, but also in front of shops, in shops, houses, cars, hotels, temples and also on the beach.

Especially on the sidewalks, you should walk carefully, almost all shopkeepers have little offerings outside their shops. Since you should not step on it, you always have to watch where you are walking

Offerings that are offered at temple festivals are much more magnificent. They are stacked on huge towers, offered in artistically woven baskets. As Balinese are practical people, the fruits are taken home again after the ceremony and eaten by the family.

bali offering

How to set a Canang correctly?

Such a sacrifice will not be just set somewhere. It contains much beauty and symbolic objects and colours to reach the addressee, or the gods and the demons, so that they take the “Sari”, feast on it and be gracious minded. The “Sari” must, therefore, be sent on their way, this happens by smoke. Incense sticks (dupa) are placed on the offering and the smoke carries away the saree.

PS: since some of you asked, here is a great blog post detailing how to craft one.

Related: Unique Island Celebration: Galungan & Kunigan

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Canang sari


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