Chinese New Year in Bali

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Chinese New Year in Bali

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Those celebrating the new day of the Year of Pig 2019 are busy with celebration and the intimacy of the family reunion moments. These times are also filled by some customs and rituals that have been a tradition in families over years. At several locations in Bali, the dominance of red adds colour to the island, showing the richness of culture and communities of Bali, as well as many entertainments happening to spread the joy and hope for a fresh beginning, luck and prosperity for the year ahead.

Even if you are not celebrating the Spring Festival, as the Chinese call it, you can spend the holiday in Bali immersing in the spirit of the festivity.

Visiting Chinese Temples
Being the heart of the celebration, Chinese Temples, popularly called Klenteng, is busy during these days with people coming and going for praying rituals. It is a must-visit place to experience Lunar New Year as the Chinese people do. Hundreds of lampions are hanged, providing a spiritful atmosphere during the evening; the smell of incense is strong; the smoke from the incense fills the room.

You can see all of above at Vihara Satya Dharma, located near the Benoa harbour, Denpasar. The huge, red Klenteng can be found easily at the side of the road while you are driving to/from Bali Mandara Gate toll in Benoa point. This place is usually full of people, both devotees, and visitors. For visitors, it is advised to wear proper clothes, red clothes will be better, to respect the praying devotees. Not only witnessing people’s activities, but you will also enjoy the Lion and Dragon dance on performance.

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If you are happening to be in the Northern part of Bali, you should not miss a visit to the old Chinese Temple Ling Gwan Kiong in Singaraja. One of the evidence of Balinese and Chinese cultural relationship, the city will, in general, reveal the bold influence – on its building style and food. Eating Siobak at one warung in Singaraja Main Street after the temple visit is a nice combination.

Enjoy Prosperity Dinner
“Have you eaten yet?” might be one popular question asked by your Chinese friends or colleagues as the conversation opener. Because of the importance of meal, this occasion without feast is nothing. While this does not mean to be an expensive one, a good meal with families brings on the hope of wealth and prosperity. More of it, Chinese people associate the food as symbolisations of good things. Fish, for example, is a must on the table as it symbolises wealth or profit. In Chinese, the word fish (yu) has a similar pronunciation with profit, surplus (yu). Or, noodle, which symbolises longevity – you must eat it as a whole. No matter how long the noodle, you are not allowed to bite or cut it shorter.

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Balingkang Kintamani Festival 2019
On Wednesday, 6 February 2019 afternoon, up in the central area of Batur Lake, Kintamani, Bangli, the local government in cooperation with Bali Tourism Board will be presenting a cultural parade, highlighting the past root of Balinese and Chinese cultural exchanges. Lampions will adorn the street for the parade about 1-kilometre length, and there will be a fragment performance of the story about the encounter and marriage of Bali King Sri Jaya Pangus with his Chinese wife Kang Cing We.

Balingkang itself in the Balinese language means the King of Bali. Inside the Pura Dalem Balingkang, visitors will find a building with bold Chinese influence at Pelinggih Ratu Ayu Subandar, which is believed as the palace of the King’s Chinese wife. The festival’s events will be centred at Batur Temple and for the whole day, visitors will immerse in the culture amidst the views and cool temperature of Batur.

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Having experiences in both marketing and writing, he is always seeking and improving the effective ways to tell a story. His approaches to travel include slow travel, going deeper and embracing serendipity. Walk on the beach or park with camera in hand is his favourite activity to maintain the creative mood.