Rajendra, Anom, Nicholls, Richard and Temple, Nicholas (2015) Challenges of coast based Balinese ritual traditions. In: Sharing Cultures 2015: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Intangible Heritage. Green Lines Institute for Sustainable Development, pp. 293-300. ISBN 978-989-8734-12-9

The coastal areas of the Indonesian island of Bali have traditionally been used as the setting for various important religious ceremonies. Challenges to these Balinese ritual traditions have arisen following the development of Bali Island as the central and most popular tourist destination of Indonesia from the 1960s. The development of the tourist industry in Bali is concentrated in sixteen locations which were set out by the government of Bali Province. Of these sixteen locations, fourteen are located in coastal areas. Whilst popular with holiday makers these locations are also an essential component of the ritual ceremonies which relate to the inhabitants’ understanding of and philosophy for life. The various rituals taking place in this region involve a large proportion of the village community, resulting in more than half of the Balinese population visiting the coast to celebrate the Balinese New Year. In this sense, there are two strictly different interests in the utilisation of the coastal resorts and beaches: Tourism and Ceremonial. This can result in conflictual situations which could be viewed as a contested relationship between ‘sacred versus profane’ or ‘spiritual versus commercial’. This paper investigates the challenges that are being faced by those practising traditional ritual ceremonies in the coastal areas. This has involved carrying out interviews with local stakeholders to obtain their views and to more closely identify the nature of the conflict. The aim of the investigation is to suggest ways to ease the tension between the recreational needs/expectations of tourists and the ceremonial practices of the indigenous inhabitants, in a way that recognises the competing demands in such a way that is acceptable to all stakeholders.

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