Saturday, March 14, 2009
Life in Bali is very communal with the organisation of villages, farming and even the creative arts being decided by the community. The local government is responsible for schools, clinics, hospitals and roads, but all other aspects of life are placed in the hands of two traditional committees, whose roots in Balinese culture stretch back centuries. The first, Subak, concerns the production of rice and organises the complex irrigation system. Everyone who owns a sawah,or padi field, must join their local Subak, which ensures that every member gets his fair share of irrigation water. The other community organisation is the Banjar, responsible for arranging all village festivals, marriage ceremonies and cremations. Most villages have at least one Banjar and all men have to join when they marry. Banjars, on average, give membership to 50 up to 100 families and all Banjars have their own meeting place called the Bale Banjar. As well as being used for regular meetings, the Bale (pavilion) is where the local gamelan orchestras and drama groups practice.