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Indonesia Etiquette Know How
The Indonesian people are very welcoming and polite towards foreigners and each other. They love to make jokes and not to take things to serious in their everyday life. The way to approach new people in Bali is to make them laugh. Then the people involved have an open mind towards each other and a good first connection is made.
Though being in Indonesia, there are different kinds of etiquette and rules important to remember in daily life among the Indonesians and when visiting the many temples on the island. Don't be afraid if you forget the different procedures! The Indonesian don't get offended if foreigners tend to forget the everyday etiquette, while the rules for visiting the temples and holy places are stricter because the focus here are to please and look after the gods, the forefathers and the demons. And these are not to be offended!
If you know that you have broken a rule you can excuse yourself with a smile and a 'maafkan saya' ( I am sorry!).
Temple etiquette: For both males and females: When entering a temple mostly in Bali you have to wear a sarong (Balinese: kain kamben): a rectangle of cloth around your waist and a selendang (temple scarf) also tied around the waist. Often it is allowed to take pictures nearly everywhere in the temple, but it is always better to ask before, just to make sure that you are not offending anybody here.
Women menstruating are not allowed inside the temple as there are seen impure during the period of menstruation. This reflects a sanction against human blood on holy ground. Also pregnant woman and those recently given birth cannot enter.
When being in the temple it is always required for visitors to keep an open eye on the situation and respectfully follow the procedure done by the Balinese. You are very welcome to join the prayers and here are some rules and procedures to follow: These you will quickly learn, looking at the Balinese praying. An important thing though is when sitting on the ground don't point your feet towards the shrines in front of the prayers.
In the temple as in daily life it is important not to cross over the offerings or the gamelan (Indonesian Traditional Music Instrument).