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A Cross-Cultural Comparison Project

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A Cross-Cultural Comparison Project

Group 17



India and Bali are both lands that are dominated with Hinduism. Hinduism, in itself, is so diverse across its multiple sects that there are bound to be differences between the two. However, when it comes to the basic tenets of Hinduism, Balinese Hinduism is not very different from Indian Hinduism.

Hinduism is rooted in India. The partition of India in 1947, and the resultant bloodshed reinforced nationalistic tendencies and specifically notions of India as 'a Hindu country', and of Hinduism as 'an Indian religion'. Most Hindus revere a body of texts as sacred scripture known as the Veda, and most Hindus draw on a common system of values known as dharma.

When Bali was conquered by the Dutch between 1846 and 1908, colonial orientalists started to thoroughly investigate the Balinese literary and religious tradition as a blurred mirror of ancient India. The history of the early Indianization of the archipelago has still not been fully elucidated. It is, however, safe to assume that Indians had settled in Indonesia but had not necessarily come as conquerors. At that time, Balinese entrenched culture of isolationism and the system of state religion pre-colonial Dutch. There's never been a significant presence of Muslim community there since barely anybody from where they all hail ever came to Bali to spread the religion. This is what makes Bali is really related with India up until today, especially in the term of Hinduism.

Cultures of India and Bali are so much related with Hinduism. India and Bali’s population are both dominated with Hindus, 80% for India and 90% for Bali. However, there are a lot of differences in their culture even though they have the same religion. The main aspect that is going to be compared in this paper is the cultural orientation which is related to Hinduism. The result is based on interview, literatures, and some videos about culture in India and Bali.





  1. Cultural Orientation
  • Ritual

1.     Honour Killing

Many communities or families in India are extremely strict about marriage, what to wear, and whom to talk to. In case a member of their family goes against the rules and regulations, they may be disowned by the family, or worse, killed, for bringing dishonour on the family or community.

2.     Baby Dropping

It is when two years infant or even less, is dropped from a tower, with crowds standing at the foot of the tower to catch the baby. It is believed to bring good luck to the child.

3.     Kesh Lochan

Kesh lochan is sacrifice one’s hair and offer it to God. Sometimes they are going to be bald too.

4.     Self flagellation

This ritual is held in Muharram, the first month in Islamic year. Its where the mourner flogs his own naked body using chains called Matams, which are often have razors attached to them. Their body will covered by their own blood and still claims no pain.

5.     Animal weddings

Villagers in rural India are performing animal weddings to satisfy the rain gods, as millions of impoverished farmers fear a weak 2014 monsoon will cause their crops to fail. The common animal to be married are donkeys and frogs.


1.     Diwali

Diwali is a five day festival that represents the start of the Hindu New Year. It's known as the "Festival of Lights" for all the fireworks, small clay lamps, and candles that are lit during the celebrations. These lights are said to represent the victory of good over evil, and brightness over darkness.

2.     Holi

Holi is a two day festival that also celebrates the victory of good over evil, and the Hindus are believed that their God was born at that day so they celebrated. It's commonly referred to as the "Festival of Colors". People throw colored powder and water to each other, have parties, and dance under water sprinklers.

3.     Krishna Janmastami

Krishna Janmashtami is the commemoration of Lord Khrisna’s birthday. An extremely fun part of the festival involves people climbing on each other and forming a human pyramid to try and reach and break open clay pots filled with curd, which have been strung up high from buildings.

4.     Nag Panchami – Festival of the snake

In this festival, cobras are worshipped. Priests sprinkle haldi-kumkum and flower petals on their raised hoods. Devotees feed them milk and even rats. It is popularly believed that snakes do not bite on Nag Panchami .

Those are some of rituals and festivals that held in India. Actually there are more rituals and festivals that we didn’t write because we consider those 9 as the weirdest rituals and festivals that we ever heard.

Based on our interview with Indian, the biggest festival they have is Diwali and Holi, but these are more likely to happen in the North, while South has different festivals related to Gods. The other interesting festival is Navatre which is for a female God, where we call young girls to our houses, treat them like Gods as gifts from nature, and feed them good food and give them gifts. It happens for 7 days.

  • Fashion Style (Traditional Cloth)

As we know, that India is well-known with Saree for female. Saree itself is a strip of four to nine meters unstitched cloth, that is wrapped over the body in various styles. The most common style is be wrapped around the waist, with one end then draped over the shoulder baring the midriff. Teenage girls wear half-sarees, a three piece set clothes. Women usually wear full sarees.

Based on our interview, saree is traditional but it is related to Hinduism because in Hindus, we have Saree basically for Hindu women and mostly married women. But nowadays it has become a trend so girls are also wearing it to attend marriages or other functions.

Beside Saree, there are other cloth for female which are mundum neriyathum, mekhela sador, salwar kameez, churidaar, anarkali suit, lehenga choli, pattu pavadai, and langa. Those kind of cloth are actually pretty same with saree, with the slight difference in the amount of pieces of the cloth.

For the male, we can see from Mahatma Gandhi’s picture. He wore traditional dhoti, which is a long white strip of cotton. We often see Sherwani too, which is a common cloth if we often watch Bollywood movie. Sherwani is a long coat up to the knees and the collar is stands up. While the headgear of the man in India is called pagri and the styles are depend on the place.



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