adat - the traditional laws of social behaviour.
agung - great, grand, lofty.
anak - child, young, offspring.
Bahasa Indonesia - the national language of Indonesia.
bale - a raised open air pavilion, building.
banjar - the local village council in which village
activities are organized.
banteng - wild cattle of Indonesia.
bapak - father, a polite term of address for an
barong - a fierce mythical creature, commonly in
the form of a lion.
Baruna - god of the sea.
batik - fabric printed by using a dye resist method,
batu - stone, rock or mountain.
bemo - a small covered pick-up truck or mini bus
used for public transport, usually privately owned.
Brahmana - the priestly caste, highest of Bali’s
four aristocratic castes.
Usually named Ida Bagus.
Brahma - Hindu god who gave birth to the caste system.
Head of the Hindu trinity. Brahma is usually represented wearing
white robes and riding a goose.
brem - rice wine.
bukit - hill, mountain.
buta - demonic spirit which causes sickness and
accidents to humans.
cap-cai - vegetable dish, also sometimes with meat.
candi - Hindu temple or monument.
candi-bentar - split gate entrance to a temple.
catur yoga - ancient manuscript on religion and
Cokorda - title used by the male rulers of the princely
colt - a mini van used for public transport from
town to town. The fastest form of transport.
condong - female attendant or lady in waiting to
copra - coconut meat dried in the sun, from which
coconut oil is extracted.
dalang - puppetmaster/storyteller who manipulates
the wayang kulit puppets, conducts the gender wayang gamelan orchestra
and directs the beat, all at the same time. He is a man of many
skills, and a much-respected scholar who displays great physical
stamina and endurance as a wayang kulit performance lasts many
dewa/dewi - god/goddess.
Dewi Sri - rice-goddess.
dokar - pony trap.
dukun - traditional faith healer, witch doctor,
herbalist, dealer in spells, mystic.
endek - Balinese ikat.
Galungan - major annual festival, held every 210
gamelan - traditional Balinese percussion orchestra,
first developed in Java. Consists mainly of bronze xylophones
shaped like discs, cylinders, keys or round hollow bowls, which
are beaten with hammers accompanied by drums and bamboo flutes.
gang - small lane, alley or footpath.
gangsa - pairs of floating bronze key metallophones
in three sizes, over
bamboo resonators. Plays basic melody or ornamental
Garuda - supernatural bird, the mount of Vishnu,
who tried to rescue Sita when wicked Rawana abducted her. He died
trying to save her. This episode is often depicted in wayang shows.
The Garuda is the emblem of the Republic of Indonesia.
gong - an instrument, but also used to indicate
the whole gamelan orchestra.
gunung - mountain.
guru - teacher.
Hanuman - the white monkey king in the mythological
Hindu epic the Ramayana.
homestay - small family run losman.
I - abbreviation of Ida, the honorary title for
males of the Sudra caste.
Ibu - mother, also a deferential or affectionate
term of address when speaking to any married woman, or woman of
Ida - used when addressing a male of the nobility.
Ida Bagus - honourable title when addressing a man
of the Brahmana caste.
Ider - ider - long narrow strip of painted frieze
cloth, in the wayang style, hung along temple eaves.
ikan - fish.
ikat - woven cloth, the pattern is created by tie-resist
binding prior to weaving.
jamu - traditional Indonesian medicine, made from
roots, bark and grasses. Usually steeped in hot water and drunk,
sometimes it is applied directly to the skin, or it may be eaten.
jukung - Balinese outrigger boat, built in a high
level of traditional technology.
kain - length of material 2.75 metres long by 1.2
metres wide. The everyday garment worn by men and women, wrapped
around the lower body. Also may refer to specific textiles such
as kain gringsing, which is used in sacred ceremonies.
kaja - towards the mountains, the opposite of kelod
(the direction of the sea; evil).
karma - Hindu belief, that our destiny is determined
by the sum total of all our actions, good and bad, from all preceding
kasar - coarse, crude, anything that is the opposite
of halus, or opposite of what is considered refined by Javanese
kawi - classical Javanese, the language of poetry.
kebaya - traditional long sleeve, close fitting
hip length jacket, worn by women.
kelapa - coconut.
kelod - towards the sea, this direction is considered
kepeng - old Chinese coins with a hole in the centre,
used in offerings and as decoration in rituals. Once the everyday
currency among the Balinese. They can still be readily obtained
for a few cents each.
Kecak - a seated male choral dance drama, from
an episode of the
Ramayana, often called the monkey dance because
of the staccato chorus of chanting. First performed in the village
of Bona, during the 1930’s to accompany trance dances.
Ketut - name prefix for the fourth and eighth born
children of the Waisa and Sudra castes.
kopi - coffee.
Korowas - cousins and nemesis of the Pandawas in
the Hindu epic the
kraton - small walled fortified city, centre of
religious learning and Hindu Javanese rulers.
kretek - Indonesian cigarette flavoured with crushed
clove, smoked throughout Indonesia. It has a distinctive aroma.
kris - double-edged dagger that is curved and twisted.
A weapon as well as an ornament. A symbol of masculine strength.
Ksatria - the princely caste.
krupuk - fried prawn or fish wafers. Eaten with
kulkul - large wooden bell made of a hollowed tree
trunk, hung vertically,
sounds the alarm and calls the people to meetings.
Kuningan - holy day celebrated 10 days after Galungan.
Korowas - cousins and enemies of the Pandawas in
the epic Mahabarata
lamak - flat palm leaf temple hanging.
ladang - non irrigated form of agriculture, using
slash and burn method to grow dry land crops.
legong - common term for legong kraton, or the young
female dancers who perform this.
leyak - roaming evil spirit that haunts lonely places
at night. These spirits can assume any supernatural shape. They
devour the entrails of babies and corpses, cast spells, and can
manifest as an animal or balls of fire. Only Balinese can see
lingam - phallic symbol associated with the Hindu
lontar - a species of palm tree, which provides
food, shelter, utensils and ornaments. Large fan like leaves are
stripped and plaited into bags, fishing nets and baskets. Most
Balinese literature, history and sacred texts have been inscribed
throughout the centuries on strips of this palm.
lontong - cooked glutinous rice wrapped in banana
losmen - basic accommodation, mostly family run.
Rooms to let; of
traditional style architecture.
lumbung padi - traditional thatched rice barn.
Made - name prefix for the second and sixth born
of the lower caste.
Mahabarata - Hindu mythological epic containing
100,000 couplets, the longest epic poem in the world. The legend
of the descendants of the Hindu gods, climaxing in a battle between
the Pandawas and the Korowas. Translated into the high language
of Kawi, this Indian legend plays a major role in Balinese literature,
art and theatre.
Majapahit - ancient east Javanese empire which ruled
most of Indonesia from A.D. 1292-1478. Was dissolved by Islamic
influences by A.D. 1520. The Majapahit had a profound effect on
the art, culture, and political organization on Bali.
mandi - bathroom with a large tub of water, which
you ladle over yourself. Also the ritual of washing.
mantra - chant of sacred significance.
meru - multi roof pagoda made of black thatch, only
found on Bali.
mie - noodles.
mie goreng - fried noodles with meat, and or vegetables.
mudra - sacred hand ritual gestures that usually
accompany mantras.naga - Hindu mythical serpent or dragon charged
with magical powers.
nasi - cooked rice.
nasi campur - combination of eggs, vegetables, meat
or fish, with sauce, served on steamed rice.
nasi padang - rice with many side-dishes, always
Ngrorod - marriage by elopement, in which the bride
is abducted, usually with the girl’s prior agreement
Ni - honorary title to address female of the Sudra
Nyepi - Balinese new year. An annual day of silence,
stillness, prayer, and meditation, in order to deceive the evil
spirits into thinking that mankind has deserted the island, so
they too will leave. People refrain from all activities.
Nyoman - name given to the third and seventh born
children of lower castes.
odalan - temple festival, celebrating the date the
temple was founded. Held every 210 days (when it is believed the
gods descend from heaven to receive blessings from the congregation).
oplet - small intra city mini bus, usually covered,
with side benches for seating in the back.
oton - Balinese year consisting of 210 days.
opor ayam - chicken cooked in coconut milk and spices.
padi - rice growing in the fields.
padmasana - the high lotus throne, reserved for
the highest god at any temple.
Pak - term of respect for a man, abbreviation of
bapak, meaning father or Mr.
pandanus - palm used to make mats.
pande - blacksmith.
parang - chopping knife.
paras - soft volcanic sandstone material, used for
pasar - market.
pasar malam - night market.
pedanda - high priest of the Hindu Bali religion,
belonging to the Brahmana caste.
pegulingan - a small minor orchestra especially
for the legong.
penjor - eight metre high bamboo poles, decorated
with bamboo decorations, used to line the streets at Galungan
pikulan - carrying pole which rests across the shoulders.
The burden is suspended from each end.
pemangku - curator and custodian of a temple. Secular
temple priests who officiates at everyday temple rituals; of the
lower castes, and humble. Mostly males.
pisang - banana.
prahu - outrigger (sailing or motorized boat).
punggawa - title of indigenous regents, leader of
a district (historical).
puputan - “the end”. Suicidal fight
to the death when defeat is inevitable.
pura - temple.
pura dalem - temple of the dead.
pura desa - the village temple, used for everyday
worship, usually located in the centre of a village.
pura puseh - “temple of origin” used
by the village founders.
pura subak - temple dedicated to the irrigation
puri - residence of a noble family; dwelling place
for descendants of a local prince of the Ksatria or Waisa caste.
purnama - full moon.
putri - princess.
raja - lord or prince.
Ramayana - Indian epic legend. The hero Rama defeats
Rawana of Lanka who has stolen his wife Sita. The Ramayana provides
spectacle for the theatre and drama of Bali and inspires much
of its art. Of ancient origin, the story of good conquers evil.
Rangda - Queen of the Leyaks.
rumah makan - modest restaurant.
saka - the Balinese lunar calendar.
sakti - an animals or objects spiritual power.
sambal - a spicy hot chilli sauce.
Sanghyang - title given to a deity of great spiritual
Sanghyang Widi - the godhead, all powerfull. All
the gods in the Bali Hindu pantheon are manifestations of the
cosmic force of Sanghyang Widi; the creator.
sari - flower.
sawah - wet rice method of cultivation, or a rice
sebel - ritual uncleanness, pollution.
sirih - betel nut and lime combined with sirih -
the leaf of a species of
pepper, mildly narcotic, mainly chewed by older
people in Indonesia.
songket - patterned woven cloth, incorporating gold
or silver thread.
soto - delicious spicy soup, eaten throughout the
subak - the village irrigation cooperative, which
controls the use of water and maintenance of irrigation. This
association settles disputes and monitors all dams.
Sudra - the lowest caste. The common people, comprising
over ninety percent of the population. Jaba is more widely used
than Sudra among the Balinese.
suling - flute.
taman - ornamental garden with a pond.
teman - friend.
tenget - magical, dangerous.
tirta - holy water.
tuak - rice or palm wine.
tukang - skilled workman or labourer.
Wadah - funeral tower.
wantilan - an open pavilion used for cock fights.
waringin - banyan tree.
warung - a simple food stall selling inexpensive
wayang kulit - shadow puppet theatre.
Wayan - the name used for the third and fifth born
child of the lower caste.
Waisa - the warrior caste. The most numerous of
the aristocratic castes.
Widyadhari - heavenly nymphs.
Yama - god of the underworld.
yeh - water.
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