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Social codes

Do’s and don’ts during religious events

Unlike a wedding, funeral, or other private occasion in your home country, in Bali tourists are welcome to watch any ceremony that passes through the streets. You can join the procession to the cremation field or to the beach. The many temples are always open to visitors, as long as there's nothing special going on inside. But, according to the Balinese Hinduism the ever-present Gods, spirits and demons are surrounding these events in even bigger quantities. Incorrect dressing can affect the harmony of the ceremony.

So there are some rules to follow when you want to visit a temple or watch a ceremony. With this guidelines in mind you will always be a welcome guest.
1.   Always wear a sarong and slendang (a long rectangle shawl or scarf) at ceremonies, also for the men. Have a set
      in your motorbike, car or handbag and you’re always prepared for any ceremony you encounter.
2.   Your t-shirt or blouse should have at least short sleeves. Any color will do. Tops and singlets are not appreciated. 
3.   Give or take presents, consumptions, money, etc. always with your right hand. The
      left one is considered to be impure. Not only during ceremonies, but also in the daily life.
4.   Use your right hand to point at things or people. Never use your left hand or one of your feet.
5.   Don’t choose a higher seat than the level of the offerings and seats of the priest(s). It suggests you consider
      yourself more important than the priest, or the gifts to the Gods.
6.   Never pass in front of people who are praying.
7.   Don’t blind or annoy the priest(s) with your camera.
8.   Don’t get in the way of the people performing the ceremony, not even to ask questions or pictures. They have
      been looking forward to and preparing this event for months, don’t spoil it.
9.   It is not allowed to enter a temple for women having their monthly period, but of course this is hard to check.
10. It is absolutely not done to visit a temple when you had a baby the last 42 days. In Balinese believes you are
     accompanied by a whole flock of invisible beings during these days. This might negatively affect the temple or
     the ceremony.
Balinese are warm-hearted people. If they like you, they'll invite you to meet their family and see their house. Bringing a present to return the hospitality will be highly appreciated.
When you are in Bali, do as the Balinese do and give something for the household, like coffee, tea, sugar, cake, rice etc. Also towels, detergent and other basic daily-life necessities are highly appreciated.
Balinese children have the same wishes as every child anywhere in the world. With chocolate, snacks, toys, a t-shirt or school stuff like pencils or exercise books you'll be the most popular guest ever.