Behind the Scenes – Bali blessing baskets (Keben)
What are Keben baskets?
The Balinese are gentle, humble people with and a deep devotion to their spiritual beliefs. Bali is famous for being a “spiritually elevated” place and is often referred to as the land of the Gods. It is a place of deep spirituality where every family, rich or poor, has their own family temple. You’ll find a shrine around nearly every corner. Festivals, prayers and offerings are central parts of the Balinese culture which has managed to be retained even with huge outside influence from mass tourism. The Balinese people seem to have a unique ability to live in two worlds; they enjoy the outside influences while maintaining the connection to spirit, ritual and religion that is so deeply woven into their daily lives and community. Keben baskets are big part of this. These handwoven baskets are lovingly filled with sandalwood incense and fresh flowers. They are used as part of a traditional custom consisting of purification, welcoming of good spirits and offerings to the gods. In the blessings water is used representing the flow of energy, or chi, the flowers are typically grown in one’s own private garden, and each colour of flower has significance to a particular god.
The tradition of making the baskets has been passed down from generation to generation. Walking around the villages you will see woman with keben on their heads in a variety of patterns, designs and colours.