Bali’s Hindu religion is driven by the belief that balance must be achieved between all three realms of the physical, spiritual and unseen worlds. This concept dominates the everyday lives of most people on the island. It involves conducting elaborate ceremonies and rituals with colourful offerings to appease the gods.
The simplest type of offering is canang and this small square basket is made from palm fronds. It contains a small sliver of areca nut and a dash of lime paste wrapped in a betel leaf to represent the three gods of the Hindu trinity. There is also a slice of banana or sugar cane and a few grains of rice topped with fresh flower petals, shredded pandanus leaves and a dash of perfumed oil.
Canangs are used as a daily offering for temples, homes, schools and offices across the island of Bali. They can also be seen in front of shops, market stalls and even on the dashboards of taxis. The act of placing canang is a ritual process of expressing a small pray and giving thanks to God for his blessing. It is always accompanied by a stick of incense and a splash of holy water. Philosophically, these offerings are a kind of self-sacrifice that take time, money and effort to create.