Offering in Bali

Canang Sari

When you walk around Bali you are sure to see small palm leaf baskets containing flowers and other objects on the ground or on small platforms at the front of houses and you may wonder what they are.

They are Canang Sari where canang means basket and sari means essence. They are offerings (banten) made 3 times per day as a symbol of thanks to the Hindu God Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa for giving peace to the world and bringing prosperity and good health to the family, at the same time appeasing the spirits.

mebanten or do some offering

Avoid stepping over them or kicking them especially while incense is burning as the essence of the offering is still rising to heaven. Though if you step on them accidentally nobody will take offence. Once the incense goes out the offering is complete and will be soon swept away.

Canang sari offerings are also made on special days such as Purnama (full moon), and Tilem (dark moon - when the moon cannot be seen), and Kajeng Kliwon (special mind cleansing days) but canang sari is not offered when there is a death in the community or family.

Up to 15 canang are placed around the home and family temple of the average Balinese family compound. The Padma, or temple statue in the north-eastern corner, needs two. The statue next to it, the Tugu, responsible for home security – also receives two. A fifth is left on the ground in between them to please the lower spirits.

purnama ( full moon ) offering

Another canang is put on top of a compound’s well or water-bore – for Vishnu.

Brahma, the God of Fire in the kitchen, is offered one. One is placed at the main bedroom, another on the family gazebo (or bale bengong), and one on the ground in the middle of the compound for Ibu Pertiwi, Mother Earth. Four are placed outside. One each in the shrines (pengapit lawang) on each side of the compound gate and two more between them on the ground for the lower spirits.

Young women dressed in a kamen or sarong , kebaya blouse and waist-sash known as a selendang, usually peform the ritual of placing the canang sari around the house. After lighting an incense st