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Balinese people

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Title: Balinese people  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ethnic groups in Indonesia, Bali Aga, Dewi Sri, Tenggerese, Oka Antara
Collection: Balinese Culture, Balinese People, Ethnic Groups in Indonesia, Ethnoreligious Groups, Ethnoreligious Groups in Asia, Hindu Communities
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Balinese people

Anak Bali
Wong Bali
Krama Bali
A Balinese dancer.
Total population
4.2 million (2012 census)
Regions with significant populations
Bali (3,336,065)
West Nusa Tenggara (119,407)
Central Sulawesi (115,812)
Lampung (104,810)
South East Sulawesi (49,411)
South Sumatra (38,552)
South Sulawesi (27,330)
Australia (5,529)
Balinese language, Sasak language, Indonesian language
Balinese Hinduism
Related ethnic groups
Javanese, Sasak, Tenggerese

The Balinese (Indonesian: Suku Bali) are an ethnic group native to the Indonesian island of Bali. Balinese population of 4.2 million (1.7% of Indonesia's population) live mostly on the island of Bali, making up 89% of the island's population.[1] There are also significant populations on the island of Lombok, and in the eastern-most regions of Java (e.g. the Municipality of Banyuwangi). It is the most populous Hindu majority island in the world.


  • Origins 1
  • Culture 2
    • Puputan 2.1
  • Religion 3
  • Festivals 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6


Balinese dancers, circa 1920-1940.

The origins of the Balinese came from three periods. The first waves of immigrants came from Java and Kalimantan in the prehistoric times of the proto-Malay stock.[2] Followed by the second wave of Balinese came slowly over the years from Java during the Hindu period. The third and final period came from Java, occurred in between the 15th and 16th centuries, which was about the same time during the conversion of Islam in Java, causing aristocrats and peasants to flee to Bali after the collapse of the Javanese Majapahit Empire in order to escape the Mataram's Islamic conversion. However, this in turn reshaped the Balinese culture into a syncretic form of classical Javanese culture mixed with many Balinese elements.[3]


Balinese people bring offerings to the temple.

Balinese culture is perhaps most known for its dance, drama and sculpture. The culture is noted for its use of the gamelan in music. The island is also known for its form of Wayang kulit or Shadow play/Shadow Puppet theatre. It also has several unique aspects related to their religions traditions. Balinese culture is a mix of Balinese Hindu/Buddhist religion and Balinese custom.

Traditionally, a display of female breasts is not regarded as immodest. Balinese women can often be seen with their bare chest; however, a display of the thigh is considered immodest. In modern Bali these customs are normally not strictly observed, but visitors visiting Balinese temples are advised to cover their legs.

In the Balinese naming system, a person's rank of birth or caste is reflected in the name.[4]


A puputan is an act of mass suicide through frontal assaults in battle, and was first noted by the Dutch during the colonization of Bali. The latest act of puputan was during the Indonesian war of Independence, with Lt. Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai as the leader in the battle of Puputan Margarana. The airport in Bali is named after him in commemoration.[5]


The vast majority of the Balinese believe in Agama Tirta, "holy-water religion". It is a Shivaite sect of Hinduism. Traveling Indian priests are said to have introduced the people to the sacred literature of Hinduism and Buddhism centuries ago. The people accepted it and combined it with their own pre-Hindu mythologies.[6] The Balinese from before the third wave of immigration, known as the Bali Aga, are mostly not followers of Agama Tirta, but retain their own animist traditions.


The Balinese women preparing for religious festival.

Kuta Carnival, Sanur Beach Festival, Bali Kite Festival[7]

See also


  1. ^ Bali faces population boom, now home to 4.2 million residents
  2. ^ Shiv Shanker Tiwary & P.S. Choudhary (2009). Encyclopaedia Of Southeast Asia And Its Tribes (Set Of 3 Vols.). Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd.  
  3. ^ Andy Barski, Albert Beaucort and Bruce Carpenter (2007). Bali and Lombok. Dorling Kindersley.  
  4. ^ Leo Howe (2001). Hinduism & Hierarchy In Bali. James Currey. p. 46.  
  5. ^ Helen Creese, I Nyoman Darma Putra & Henk Schulte Nordholt (2006). Seabad Puputan Badung: Perspektif Belanda Dan Bali. KITLV-Jakarta.  
  6. ^  
  7. ^ Tempo: Indonesia's Weekly News Magazine, Volume 7, Issues 9-16. Arsa Raya Perdana. 2006. p. 66. 
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