Adam's 28th year was brought in with a Balinese bang!

Our Balinese friend, Guli, invited a couple of bules (white people) to his family's temple ceremony. Thankfully, we were two of these lucky bules along with our new Colorado Springs friends, Rich and Danielle. The date of the ceremony was scheduled for an auspicious day on the Balinese calendar and just happened to fall on Adam's 28th birthday.

This kind of invitation is the ultimate travel experience for Adam and was quite the birthday gift to start off a new year!

 Guli

Guli

This ceremony celebrates the birth of the temple and is celebrated every six months through two cleansing ceremonies in the clan temple and again in the family temple. We had no idea what this meant and what we were in for, so cheers to another #nuventure!

 After arriving at the family's compound, we sat chatting with the men. 

After arriving at the family's compound, we sat chatting with the men. 

 We sampled sweet Balinese coffee, rice cookies, purple sweet potato and spicy chicken. Yum!

We sampled sweet Balinese coffee, rice cookies, purple sweet potato and spicy chicken. Yum!

All six senses were bursting with new and foreign stimulus all day. From our first step into the compound, we were constantly adjusting and soaking in all the new visuals, sounds, and smells that come with preparing for and taking part in a Balinese ceremony. Just imagine this scene: roosters constantly crowing, incense burning for the offerings being sent to the heavens, constant ringing of the priest's golden bell as he prayed,  the tonal pitch of eastern hymns, mischievous boys running and screaming around the temple,  and the vibrant colors in the decorations, the attire and in the fruit and flowers.

We were soaking all of this in whilst being creative in our communication with Guli's family through broken English, laughing, and enormous smiles. We wanted to make sure his family knew we were so thankful to be there with them on such a special day!

 The family temple decorated for the second ceremony. 

The family temple decorated for the second ceremony. 

 The family temple located right in the compound next to the bedrooms. 

The family temple located right in the compound next to the bedrooms. 

 The ladies started taking the offerings to the clan temple. 

The ladies started taking the offerings to the clan temple. 

 Everyone preparing the offerings in the family temple. 

Everyone preparing the offerings in the family temple. 

 While waiting for the ceremonies, Adam learned how to massage and condition cocks for cock fighting. 

While waiting for the ceremonies, Adam learned how to massage and condition cocks for cock fighting. 

We made our way to the clan temple for the first prayer and cleansing ceremony. As we were sitting on the bamboo mats in the clan temple, Guli was guiding us through the Balinese prayer ceremony we were about to experience. Just before it started he said, "I hope after today you will be better Christians."

 The family slowly trickled into the clan temple. The priest had started ringing his bell and the singing of prayerful songs had started. 

The family slowly trickled into the clan temple. The priest had started ringing his bell and the singing of prayerful songs had started. 

 How beautiful are these women? Waving flower petals and wafting their prayers to heaven. 

How beautiful are these women? Waving flower petals and wafting their prayers to heaven. 

 We are so bad. We're supposed to be praying! I'm not a good influence:)

We are so bad. We're supposed to be praying! I'm not a good influence:)

 We loved how the boys could just play and be themselves during the ceremony. 

We loved how the boys could just play and be themselves during the ceremony. 

 The women, the colors, the offerings. Ah! All are so lovely! 

The women, the colors, the offerings. Ah! All are so lovely! 

 Big contrast to Adam's Southern Baptist upbringing. This would be begging for a good switchin'!

Big contrast to Adam's Southern Baptist upbringing. This would be begging for a good switchin'!

 Guli's uncle chummed up with Adam all day. He's holding a grilled chicken with the head, beak and talons still intact. It's snack time after the ceremony. Dig in!

Guli's uncle chummed up with Adam all day. He's holding a grilled chicken with the head, beak and talons still intact. It's snack time after the ceremony. Dig in!

 Small piece of Guli's family. 

Small piece of Guli's family. 

 While waiting for the second ceremony, we sat and chatted again. Everyone was amazed by Rich smoking his pipe. Never seen a pipe before!

While waiting for the second ceremony, we sat and chatted again. Everyone was amazed by Rich smoking his pipe. Never seen a pipe before!

 Everyone's watching curiously!

Everyone's watching curiously!

 The men were preparing a fire cracker to explode during the next ceremony to scare away evil spirits. 

The men were preparing a fire cracker to explode during the next ceremony to scare away evil spirits. 

 A fire was lit under three bamboo stalks right outside the family temple. Everyone laughed and made fun of each others' shock when each one exploded.  

A fire was lit under three bamboo stalks right outside the family temple. Everyone laughed and made fun of each others' shock when each one exploded.  

 The women are still bringing in more and more offerings for the ceremony in the family temple. 

The women are still bringing in more and more offerings for the ceremony in the family temple. 

 And more...

And more...

 The entire family squeezed together on the ground for the ceremony to begin. 

The entire family squeezed together on the ground for the ceremony to begin. 

 The priest prayed, rang his bell, led us through prayers and drenched us with holy water. 

The priest prayed, rang his bell, led us through prayers and drenched us with holy water. 

 Guli's uncle led the songs of prayer and guided us through the singing. 

Guli's uncle led the songs of prayer and guided us through the singing. 

 So many offerings of cakes, fruit, flowers, rice and chicken. 

So many offerings of cakes, fruit, flowers, rice and chicken. 

 The camera just can't capture it all. Heaps of offerings were on the tables, in the temple's nooks and crannies, and on the ground. 

The camera just can't capture it all. Heaps of offerings were on the tables, in the temple's nooks and crannies, and on the ground. 

 After the ceremonies, it was time to eat! Guli presented Adam a cake from the offerings as a birthday cake. Balinese folks don't have birthdays, but are familiar with Western traditions.  He asked, "Should we light the candles?"

After the ceremonies, it was time to eat! Guli presented Adam a cake from the offerings as a birthday cake. Balinese folks don't have birthdays, but are familiar with Western traditions.  He asked, "Should we light the candles?"

 The family all followed us out to wave goodbye. Ah! What an amazing day!

The family all followed us out to wave goodbye. Ah! What an amazing day!

The day ended and we crashed into bed with yet another day of our minds exploding from all the learning and our hearts full from the love we received from another beautiful Balinese family.

 Family photo!

Family photo!

The next morning I woke up in a groggy stupor and realized I had no idea what had happened on Adam's birthday. I was in absolutely every moment. I saw it all, took in all the noises, smells, tastes, brilliant colors and smiles. We even took part in the same ceremony twice. I still had no idea what was sang, what was prayed, why certain colors were chosen, why they have three ladies praying instead of four, etc, etc.

Before I started googling the heck out of Balinese human temple ceremonies, I had a revelation. I was there. I don't need to google it. I don't need to know absolutely every intricate detail of what was said, what was sang or the purpose behind every small hand movement. The purpose of the day, the temple birthday and Adam's birthday, was celebrating life. Even though we all come from such different lives and backgrounds, we came together to celebrate. We united in celebrating life living in a world of the seen and unseen, the known and the unknown. To what we see and know, we all give thanks and for the unknown and unseen, we all get on our knees and pray.

Cheers to another year, Adam, of new, unknown adventures!

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