Due to Bali’s lucrative hospitality industry, the island has long attracted people from all over the Indonesian archipelago who have brought their own customs and religious beliefs. It is also a little-known fact that Bali has its own Christian community which pre-dates tourism. During the 1930’s, a small number of Hindu families decided convert to Christianity yet retain their cultural roots. They continued to follow Bali’s traditional naming system, wear ceremonial costumes and even perform cultural dances. This harmonious blending of religions is also evident in churches that incorporate local design elements into their structures.
Christmas Day is widely celebrated across the island of Bali with Christian services available in both in Indonesian and English languages. One unique aspect about this holy day is that members of the Hindu community stand guard at churches and places of worship to provide extra security and holiday peace of mind.
This year, Galungan and Christmas are just one day apart and it promises to be a joyful time for Hindus and Christians alike. Followers of both faiths respect each other in a way that will see them exchange greetings, share food and respectively pray for peace and prosperity.