Travel Betty

Encouraging Fearless Independent Travel For Women

Travel Betty random header image

Travel Bride Series: What Exactly Is A Balinese Blessing Ceremony?

December 28th, 2007 · 8 Comments

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

Once Travel Boyfriend and I decided to elope to Bali, I did some searching around to see what type of ceremonies were available. I wanted more than the typical I Dos. Not that there’s anything wrong with them. I just wanted something that encompassed the spirit of the place we had chosen as our wedding location. Something that felt more exotic, but was still steeped in tradition. That’s how I happened upon the perfect answer for us, the Balinese Blessing Ceremony.

Balinese Blessing Ceremony Setup

The funny thing is, it was hard to find information on the actual ceremony other than what the typical wedding coordinators list on their websites. I didn’t want to just know what was included in the cost of the wedding package, I wanted to know what exactly was going to be done. And more importantly, what it meant. But, it wasn’t until the day before our wedding that I actually got my hands on that information from our own wedding coordinators at Romantic Weddings.

If you are asking the same questions we were, here is the breakdown provided to us:

The Balinese Blessing Ceremony

1. The Mangku (priest) twinkles the bell to speak to the God (in Sanskrit mantra) that today a sacred wedding is about to be performed.

Balinese Blessing Ceremony Grand Entrance

2. The bride and groom receive this Balinese dadap leaf, holy water, and burnt rice, which means purification and cleansing of the body and the spirit. The assistant priest then burns 3 stalks of bamboo on fire to symbolize the burning of any sinful past as individuals by the God Brahma (Batara Brahma).

3. The bride and groom receive holy water on their chests to purify and prepare their hearts for a blessed marriage.

4. The bride and groom receives coconut water on their heads using a palm leaf (3 times), and their hands to drink (3 times), and then on their hand to wipe on top of their heads (1 time). They then receive gifts, and in this occasion, it were majorly groomsmen gifts.

Balinese Blessing Ceremony Prayer

5. Muspa- The bride and groom pray:

a. Putting both hands together and raise between eyebrows.
b. Muspa Puyung: Praying without holding flowers. This is to concentrate and centralize all the senses to ask Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa (the highest God) for purity of the soul.
c. The first Muspa: Holding flowers between the two hands and raising them between the eyebrows. This is to ask Dewa Surya (the God of the Sun) to share with us His compassionate radiance to the people of the world.
d. The second Muspa: Holding ‘Kwangen’ (little flower arrangement) between the two hands and raising them between the eyebrows. This is to ask the specific God of the Padmasana (this small tower/temple protecting the hotel) so that we will always be protected and safe.
e. The third Muspa: Using similar ‘Kwangen’ to pray to all the holy Gods and Goddesses to always give us happiness and health.
f. Muspa Puyung (similar to point b above): To show gratitude for everything that we have, every blessing of life that we have received until now.

6. The wedding couple moves near the source of fire.

7. The assistant priest takes floral water using a coconut shell and pours on a bamboo cylinder, symbolizing straining all the past shadows of wrongdoings. The bride and groom then gurgle this water 3 times.

8. The couple stand and go around the offerings on the table (the groom in front and the bride behind him) 3 times.

9. Metimpug-timpung tipat gandhu- Throwing the ball made from palm leaves, to symbolize playful communication and a balanced cooperation between the bride and the groom.
10. Nues tikeh dadakan- The bride and groom tear green pandanus arrangement together to symbolize the opening a new door of life.

11. The bride and groom step on an empty coconut shell with an egg inside to leave their single lives and start a life together as parents.

12. Megat benang- The bride and groom cut a white thread together, symbolizing the entrance of a new life together.

13. Daksina- The bride carries a palm leaf arrangement with egg, rice, ancient coins symbolizing the nurturing wife who manages a harmonious home, and walks in front, while the groom walks behind the bride chasing her with thin, long bamboo stick (lidi), around the offerings 3 times, occasionally (playfully) hitting the wife with the thin long lidi symbolizing the guy as the head of the family who stirs the family in the rightful and prosperous direction.

Balinese Blessing Ceremony Stick

14. The groom and bride sit down again and receive rice on the back of their palms. The priest brings a duck to kiss the forehead of the bride and groom 3 times and then lowers the duck to eat the rice from the hands (3 times). Same thing afterwards with a chicken. The duck and chicken are believed to be holy animals bringing prosperity to the couple, so that everything they do together thereafter would be fruitful and successful.

Balinese Blessing Ceremony Duck

15. The bride and groom then take whichever treat or fruit they want from the traditional fruit and cake tower, and feed a bite to each other to symbolize continuous caring and love between one another.

Balinese Blessing Ceremony Cake Tower

That’s it. That’s the ceremony. And now you’ve got the answer to the age-old question, ‘why is that duck eating rice off of those nice people’s foreheads.’

Tags: Bali · Weddings

Related posts you may enjoy:
  • Travel Bride Series: Four breasts. One dress. Is This A Problem?
  • The Travel Bride Series: Why Settle For One Special Day When You Can Have Five?
  • The Travel Bride Series: Licensed To Wed


  • 8 responses so far ↓

    • 1 Kung Foodie Kat // Dec 29, 2007 at 3:13 am

      Awww…this is so great. Love the photo with you both and the duck. ;-D

      I’ve been researching ceremonies and rituals as the Big D and I are getting married in May. We’re both a bit on the wild side and want to create our own but there’s something to be said for incorporating centuries old traditions.

      MyAvatars 0.2
    • 2 Bruce // Dec 29, 2007 at 4:01 am

      What a good idea. The huge difference from a traditional western wedding high lights the importance of the commitment and the importance the society places on that commitment. I am glad you shared this with all of us. I hope the teachings in the ritual motivate both you and your husband throughout your married years together.

      MyAvatars 0.2
    • 3 Case Stevens // Dec 29, 2007 at 5:24 am

      Aaaah, Bali!
      Must be more than 25 years ago since I visited this beautiful island. Enjoyed the sun, beach, food and especially the wonderful people. Attended some ceremonies from locals and they were always awesome.
      Hope it didn’t change too much since.

      MyAvatars 0.2
    • 4 holly link // Dec 29, 2007 at 8:28 am

      Whoa! I got confused at my wedding ceremony and all I had to do was do the unity candle and a few other things (don’t remember, almost 13 years ago). Sounds like a great experience and congratulations

      MyAvatars 0.2
    • 5 Olga, the Traveling Bra // Dec 30, 2007 at 11:25 pm

      WOW! How long did that cermony take?!?

      Seriously, I think it’s very cool that you guys did something unique and that you’ll never forget! :) Congrats!!!!

      Happy New Year to both Mr. & Mrs. Travel Betty! ;)
      xoxo
      ~Olga
      PS: Got any fun upcoming trips planned?

      MyAvatars 0.2
    • 6 Amyl // Jan 1, 2008 at 5:27 pm

      Congratulations on the beautiful wedding!

      MyAvatars 0.2
    • 7 Travel Betty // Jan 1, 2008 at 5:35 pm

      Thanks for the comments, everyone!

      Kat, TB and I had originally planned to create our own ceremony too. I think the rituals are the best part. Good luck!

      Bruce, I do hope the teachings will guide us as well. I’ll keep you all posted!

      Case, from what I hear, Bali has changed tremendously over the past few decades, but I can attest that the people are still gracious and lovely as ever.

      Holly, I can’t believe it’s been 13 years!! Contrats ;)

      Olga, it only took about a 1/2 hour for the ceremony. We also had 2 Balinese dance performances to start and finish so in total it was about 45 minutes or so. Just about right. Our next big trip will be our official honeymoon in Argentina probably this fall. We do have some smaller trips planned before that, most notably Vancouver planned in April.

      Thanks, Amy!

      MyAvatars 0.2
    • 8 fleur // Dec 21, 2010 at 3:42 am

      Hi,
      The romantic weddings link you put up is not available? do you have a contact for them? Am getting married in oct 2011 and the grooms favorite animal is a duck! I want the same ceremony! this would be so perfect.

      MyAvatars 0.2

    Leave a Comment