13 Cultural Norms in Bali

There are cultural norms in Bali that the locals carry out in their daily basis. These cultural norms are highly regarded among the people as it also serve as a representation of the people in Bali. This article will tell you about the 13 Cultural Norms in Bali.

When you come to Bali, you may be able to observe the locals showing these norms. Knowing these norms will make you feel less out of place in Bali. Moreover, you can also do these cultural norms while you are in the island as to not cause offence to the people there.

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1. Dressing Conservatively

You are allowed to wear revealing outfits around the beach or the swimming pool in Bali. However, it is a different case when you start to walk around local markets or a village. You have to dress conservatively when you are exploring the local areas of Bali as the people also dress very modestly. Wearing revealing clothes around those areas would be inappropriate.

2. Using Palm to Point at Things

In Bali, the index finger is not used to point at things. Using an index finger would be rude. Instead, Balinese use the palm or the thumb. Moreover, the people try as much as possible to avoid pointing at people. It can cause misunderstanding between people.

3. Leaving Footwear Outside

When Balinese enter homes or the temples, they always leave their footwear outside the area. Homes and temples are sacred to Balinese. Footwear are dirty and wearing them inside means disrespecting the sacred places. Leaving footwear outside is considered as a Social Etiquette in Bali.

4. Using Titles

Balinese use titles when they want to call people. They do not call people by their first name unless the person has made an allowance to do so. Using titles to call people show respect. Balinese has a high regard for respect, especially towards each other. Titles used can be Bapak (Sir) or Ibu (Ma’am). These titles can also show the age status of a person. It may show that the person who is being called is older or younger than the person who calls them.

5. Wearing Sarong and Sash in Temples

Balinese always wear sarong and sash when they go to temples. It is a way for them to dress modestly while entering a sacred place. Dressing appropriately is a way to respect the temple too. If you are not a local then there are always sarong and sash available for you to wear to temples. They will not allow you to enter if you dress inappropriately. Always follow the Rules When Visiting Temples in Bali.

6. Giving Offering in the Morning

Balinese always give offering during the early morning. This offering is called Canang Sari. The offering consists of a wide woven palm leaf. Inside the palm leaf, there are flowers and herbs. Often times, the people place the offering on sidewalks. It would be very rude and offensive if someone happens to step on the offering. If you are a visitor to Bali, make sure you always watch your step while walking along the streets.

7. Greeting Strangers

Balinese are friendly people who are fond of greetings anyone. They also like to greet strangers that they meet in public places. Greetings show politeness to the people who have come to Bali. The greeting could be in the form of putting both of their palms together. The palms are placed in an upward motion. If you are a visitor you can also learn How to Greet in Bali.

8. Being Humorous

Balinese like to joke among each other. Basically, they are really humorous people. Throwing funny jokes in between serious conversations is normal. It also strengthens the relationship between the people they are talking to.

9. Respecting Someone’s Head

The head is considered as an extremely sacred part of the body. They believe that the soul of a person lies in that body part. Due to that believe, Balinese have a high respect for their head as well as others’. They try as much as possible to avoid accidentally touching other people’s head. Moreover, they try not to reach over something that would cause their hands to go on top of the head.

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10. Offering Food and Drinks to Guest

Balinese are hospitable people. When there are guests who visit their house, they treat the guests in the best way possible. Balinese would offer food and drinks that are available in the house to the guest. The guest would have to give the food and drinks a try to show gratefulness for the hospitality.

11. Eating with Hands

Balinese like to eat with their hands. It is a cultural norm to use the right hand as a way to consume their food. Even though there are food utensils available to them, they still feel more comfortable eating with their bare hands. Before eating, they would wash their hands first. Once the hands are cleaned, Balinese can enjoy their Traditional Meal in Bali.

12. Bowing Head to Elders

Balinese have high regards to their elders. They know that they have to respect the elders through their best behaviour. It is ingrained in their culture that whenever they see an elder, they often bow their heads to the elders. They do that while also giving a smile.

13. Speaking Politely

The cultural norm in Bali would be to speak politely. Aggressiveness is not acceptable. Talking with softness and politeness is a reflection of your character. Balinese avoid talking harshly as that could cause conflicts. Talking harshly may also cause someone discomfort as keeping harmony and peace is a Lifestyle in Bali Indonesia.

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All these cultural norms have a reason behind them. Balinese do these actions with a purpose in mind. If you are a visitor or a tourist in Bali, be mindful of these cultural norms. Never belittle these cultural norms as they mean a lot to the Balinese.