Although the Balinese are Hindu and worship the Hindu trinity Brahma,
Shiva and Vishnu, the Balinese religion is very different from the
Indian variety. The Balinese do have a caste system but there are
no untouchables. The caste system is most evident in the language
which has three levels: a low level for commoners, a mid level to
address strangers and a high level only used when addressing aristocracy.
The Balinese are an unusual island people in that they have never
been sea faring people. They believe that good spirits dwell in
the mountains and that the seas are home to demons. Most villages
have at least three main temples: one of which is the Pura Puseh
or ‘temple of origin’, is dedicated to the village founders
and which faces to Mt Agung - home to Pura Besakih the mother temple
on Bali. Together with the other two village temples each house
may several temples and as well as rice fields, markets etc. etc.
etc. Now you can see why Bali is often referred to as the Island
of the Gods.
The Balinese are extremely devout and no day goes by without making
offerings to the gods. These daily offerings - called Banten are
a major part of Balinese life. You will see these offerings nearly
everywhere in Bali. Made of flowers, cigarettes, cookies, rice and
even sometimes money (the actual items used are not as important
as the process of making and offering it to the spirits) these offerings
are given to the good spirits in hopes of continued prosperity as
well as to the evil spirits as an appeasement.