Culture: Canang

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The first time you see them, those small leaf-encased floral bits and pieces lying in the doorways of shops, or outside market stalls and dwellings, it would be possible to dismiss them as casually strewn good-luck tokens or charms or even rubbish. But that is far from the truth.

They are, in fact canang – daily offerings created in their thousands throughout the enchanting island of Bali. Behind them lies an inspiring story of devotion, love and sacrifice.

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Balinese people treat the island’s unseen inhabitants – Gods, Ancestors and Demons – as honoured guests
and offer them canang daily. The gift of a daily offering expresses gratitude to the good spirits and appeases the demons; strikes a balance of peace, stability and unity between all; and thus creates harmony.

Every single canang is placed in a delicate banana leaf basket and will contain a small amount of betel nut and chalk, a pandan leaf and some coconut – each one symbolizing a gift for Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – offerings within offerings.

Canang are always small; as gifts to beings higher than ourselves, they are always attractive. The contents – of the small basket are traditionally perishable items – leaves and flowers. Rice is included in an offering to Demons. Today people slip in extra gifts such as teabags, candy, money and cigarettes – but these items do not bear any significance.

“A CANANG LASTS FOR ONE DAY ONLY – The next day always brings fresh offerings”

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Dream Weddings Bali Style Issue 4
Section: Culture
Text: excerpt from ‘My Offering’ by Phillippa Goldie a koko bali press book
Photography: Gusmank
Assistant Photographer: Angendari
Canang by Alit Dirga

Read more about Dream Weddings Bali Style Magazine
 

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