Religion in Bali
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Bali is the home for a small community of people who adhere to Hindu. There is about 93.18% of the total population that adheres to Balinese Hinduism. The religion is a combination of Hindu influences from the Southeast Asia and South Asia mainland with the existing local beliefs. Islam is the minority religion with only 4.79% followers, while Christianity scores 1.38% and Buddhism 0.64%. Immigrants from other parts of Indonesia have not yet included in these figures.
In 16th century, after Islam took the control over Java, many Hindu people took refuge in Bali. The believers of Balinese Hinduism worship gods and demigods, the spirit of ancestors, indigenous agricultural deities, Buddhist heroes and sacred places. Religion in Bali is a composite complex system which has theology, mythology and philosophy as well as ancestor worshipping, magic and animism and pervades all aspects of life. Although less strict than in India, caste system is observed with discipline in Bali. There are an estimated 20,000 pura and shrines all over the island which made it also known as the Island of a Thousand Temples.
The roots of Balinese Hinduism are Indian Hinduism and Buddhism and it also adopts the local people’s indigenous traditions. Balinese Hinduism believes that gods and goddesses present in all things which makes every element in nature has its own power. Such power is believed to reflect the power of the goods. A dagger, woven cloth, rock or tree is believed to have their own power which can be directed for evil or good. The religion is interwoven deeply with ritual and art. All religious expressions are ritualized and shape the decorous and graceful behavior of the people.
There are also a small number of Chinese immigrants. The traditions of these immigrants meld with the local traditions. Therefore, Sino-Balinese harmonizes their original religion with the local traditions which makes it common to find a Sino-Balinese during an odalan in a local temple. Priests of Balinese Hindu are often invited also to perform necessary rites with a Chinese priest in a ceremony for the death of a Sino-Balinese. However, for administrative purpose, the Sino-Balinese has Buddhism as religion in their Identity Cards.