The anniversary ceremony is known as the ‘Odalan,’ taking place every 210 days in accordance with the Balinese ‘saka’ calendar. The Balinese Hindus believe that this is the time when the gods descend from the heavens to be present in that particular temple.
It took three days to prepare for the festival, which was organised by our Hindu employees. Our Resort temple was decorated with ceremonial ‘umbul-umbul’ flags, and the slender, eight-metre-high, gracefully arching bamboo poles known as ‘penjor,’ festooned with flowers, fruit, unhusked rice and palm frond ornamentation. Our employees and their families also contributed by making ‘canang’ flower petal offerings, and the astonishing offerings known as ‘gebogan,’ which are soaring pyramids of fruit, rice-cakes and flowers, ornamented with ‘sampian’ coconut-leaf decorations, and designed to reflect the shape of the holy mountain. These were brought to the Resort Temple in a long procession with our female employees carrying the gebogan on their heads. The offerings were arranged in order of size from the smallest ones up at the front to the huge ones finishing off the procession. Towering at almost two metres high, the gebogan require as much skill to carry them as to make them.
To celebrate the occasion, there was an array of activities, which began at 7 am and continued throughout the day. This included the dressing of the symbols of the gods, cockfighting, a rejang dance performance and much more. In the Saraswati Lounge, our staff assisted our guests to dress in Balinese attire so that everyone could participate in a ceremonial parade from the Lobby to the Resort Temple compound. This was followed by a blessing ceremony conducted by a Hindu Priest.
The event was just one example of the many ways in which InterContinental Bali Resort cares for and involves the local community in cultural traditions.