Sandpiper Imports founder Erika Poulos knew she wanted her jewelry collection to connect consumers to the world around them - and to the artisans who made each piece. The first time she flew to Bali in search of silver artisans, she knew she’d found just the place to handcraft her line. Erika quickly fell in love with the community where her jewelry is produced and has been so inspired by Balinese culture.If you’ve never visited Bali before, we’d like to share our favorite elements of the island’s culture with you. Read on for 3 reasons we fell in love with Bali on our very first visit…
Community: One of the things Erika noticed immediately was that the Balinese people are very gentle - to each other, to the earth, and in their movements. Kindness is emphasized in all interactions, and angry encounters and outbursts are uncommon. This focus on living gently makes everyday life on the island seem incredibly peaceful, and visitors to Bali often note that they feel incredibly welcomed by the locals. This sense of belonging is what often draws people back to Bali again and again.
Family Life: Balinese families often live together in family compounds, called “uma.” Each home welcomes you with an arched entrance and feature gardens and an open verandah, a structure for rice storage, a kitchen, and an area for bathing and sleeping. There is also often a small family temple in the home for family shrines, and as many of Bali’s residents are skilled tradesmen, it’s not uncommon for homes to include a workshop on-site. This living arrangement, with a large extended family coexisting in one space, creates an emphasis on family relationships, which is key to the way the Balinese structure their lives and priorities.
Rituals: While there are some Balinese people who practice other religions (including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism), the foundation of the island’s culture is Hinduism. Spirituality impacts every part of Balinese life, and visitors often notice the small religious rituals that are carried out each day by the locals. One of the most notable rituals in Bali is making daily flower offerings. Each morning, Balinese locals wake up and lay out flowers or petals as an offering to the Hindu gods. There are usually two offerings placed at the same time, one higher to honor the good spirits and one lower to the ground to appease the evil spirits. The simplest offerings are a single flower inside a folded banana leaf with a bit of rice and stick of incense. But the Balinese also exhibit their artistic flair with more elaborate floral arrangements laid outside the temples and during their numerous ceremonies. The streets of Bali come to life with flowers in the early morning hours and again at mid-day, and each evening they’re swept away to make room for the next day’s offerings. (You can read more about Balinese flower offerings here.)
Have you been to Bali? What did you love most about the culture there?