Ceremonies and Pigs in Bali

By Jerry Harter, KF13 Indonesia

Recently the Christian Church in Blimbingsari celebrated its 71th Anniversary.  As with many important occasions in Bali, this called for the roasting of a pig and making satay.  I had the privilege of attending this ceremony and enjoyed both an excellent meal and a wonderful example of community.

Array of Satay

When I arrived in Bali to begin my Kiva placement I wondered why so many people are engaged in pig farming here, and why pig farming is one of the main small businesses funded by MUK, Kiva’s microfinance partner in Bali.  Well as I learned, there are many important ceremonies in Bali, and they are often accompanied by the roasting of a pig and making satay.  And so, the demand for pigs is high.

For Hindus there are many important occasions that include roasting a pig and making satay.  Ceremonies are performed at full moons, new moons, anniversaries of temples, ritual teeth filings, weddings, and numerous rites of passage in a person’s life.

Likewise, for Christians, a pig roast and making satay will be part of the celebration at many significant family and community events, including anniversaries, weddings, and various rites of passage.

A significant difference between Hindus and Christians is the significance of the pig itself. Traditionally in Bali, a pig roast is part of a Hindu ceremony where the killing of the pig is a purification ritual and symbolic of the destruction of evil, and the food then is an offering to God.

For Christians, on the other hand, the killing of the pig does not have this significance. To them, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross means animal sacrifices to God are no longer necessary.  Still they offer prayers of thanks to God for the food, their good fortune, and in honor of the event being celebrated.

For Hindus and Christians alike, traditional Balinese dress is worn, men and women have particular roles in the preparation of the food, and the ceremony is very important in bringing people together and strengthening the community.

But enough talk.  Let’s have some satay!  Here are some slides and a short video of the event.  I hope you enjoy them.

Click to view slideshow.

Making Satay at a Balinese Ceremony

Jerry Harter is a Kiva Fellow working with Koperasi Mitra Usaha Kecil (MUK) in Blimbingsari, Bali, Indonesia.   Interested in alleviating poverty by supporting small entrepreneurs?  Visit Kiva.  And, consider becoming a Kiva Fellow.

About the author

Jerry Harter