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Raffles Bali - Balinese Offering Meaning and Elements
January 31st 2023

Balinese Offering Meaning and Elements

Bali, widely known as The Island of The Gods, is a place steeped in history and culture. As a surviving fragment of a once-mighty Hindu empire, Bali enchant in its spiritual feel at every moments.

When you walk around Bali while enjoying your holiday, you probably notice at least one small square palm leaf made, filled with colorful flowers lying on the ground either in front of houses, shops or temples. It is called Canang Sari, daily Balinese offerings. The phrase Canang Sari is derived from the Balinese words means essence and canang means a small palm-leaf basket as the tray. It is the symbol of thankfulness to the Hindu God, Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa.  It is offered every day as a form of thanking for the peace had given to the world.

Canang sari is normally filled with a multitude of colorful flowers. The colors of the flowers are white, red, yellow, and either blue or green. The colors are not randomly chosen; they have different meanings and are placed in specific directions in the Canang.

  • The white-colored flowers that point to the east as a symbol of Iswara. Iswara is regarded as one of the primary forms of God.
  • The red-colored flowers that point to the south as a symbol of Brahma. Brahma is often referred to as the progenitor or great grandsire of all human beings.
  • The yellow-colored flowers that point to the west as a symbol of Mahadeva. Mahadeva means “Great god” also one of the main deities of Hinduism.
  • The blue or green colored flowers that point to the north as a symbol of Vishnu. Visnu is conceived as “the Preserver” within the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the divinity.

Normally, Canang Sari stays for one night after it is being prayed and offered before it is being removed to be replaced with the new one. After all, Hinduism is very concerned with the relationship between humanity and the environment. Whatever comes from nature, it has to be back to nature. Our Raffles Wellbeing Butler will be happy to assist should you wish to learn on how to make this offering and any other cultural activities.