The local creeds are very strong and intertwined with day-by-day life. I was mostly amazed by the little temple houses in Thailand, and by the daily offerings to spirits in Bali. The two practices are very visible every day. They are also absolutely enchanting.
Here are a few posts about spirits and spirituality in these two areas:
“Lia explained to me the meaning of these little temples. They are spirit houses, where the good and bad spirits are sheltered so they do not enter the house. They are taken cared of, like given food in the form of cookies, etc. If something bad happens, it means that the spirits got upset, and the people have to take better care of them. Every household, including guesthouses, have these little temples built near the house. Out of respect I had to cover myself a bit, as if I entered a temple; although these in the pictures are right on the beach.”
“If in Thailand each household had little spirit temple houses, here in Bali each household has an oversized temple in their own courtyard. Here are some pictures inside the temple of the family where I’m staying.
The spiritual aspect is very alive in Bali and is one of the reasons Bali is so unique. Bali is over 90% Hindu, among less than 3% in Indonesia. A few centuries ago, after Islam came to this part of the world, the Hindu people who wanted to keep their religion were exiled to Bali, where they created a religion mixed with local traditions called Balinese Hinduism. One aspect of this spirituality is emphasis on beauty and art; the artistic expression here is very much encouraged and supported.
The entrance into the courtyard looks like the entrance into a temple, which gives the impression that Ubud is a city of temples, and gives part of its charm.”
“I am enchanted with Bali. I have been looking for a place to inspire me to stay longer, and this is it. Although I will stay for ten days only, I will come back for sure. One of the cutest things are the tiny daily offerings to the spirits. You have to watch your steps at all times, so you don’t accidentally step on them. They are made of rice, flowers, bananas, and a leaf I do not know, and placed every morning in front of all kinds of entrances and various other spots. You literally walk 20 meters, and you see 5-10 offerings like this. Bali is so much about spiritual rituals and artistic expression. Absolutely charming! — at Ubud Bali Indonesia.”