The year of the Rooster just started with the traditional festivities that the Balinese Chinese community celebrate with lots of incenses and the Barongsai dance.

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This is the beautiful Benoa Chinese temple built in Bali in 2012.
After troubled years ethnic Chinese can now openly celebrate their culture again.

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The long history of Chinese influence in Indonesia dates back to the Majapahit period. The Barong, derived from the Chinese lion, is perhaps the most recognizable Balinese Hindu icon. The Kepeng, Chinese coins, were in use in Bali from the 7th century, and are still used in Balinese ceremonies today.

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Long time has passed since ethnic Chinese in Indonesia try to live low key and not get noticed. Ten years ago still, the main temple in Kuta was sort of hidden and barely visible from outside. This new Benoa facility is big and spacey, definitely visible from the main road. It has a decent parking lot and it’s really clean. There is even a place to wash your feet after walking barefoot to the altars.

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The baroque decorations are really well done, mostly tridimensional and meaningful, rendering a big impact on visitors.

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So even during this new lunar year celebrations there is plenty of room to take your turn and light up your pack of incenses, while sporting your sober red outfit.

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Most of visitors don’t just burn a couple of sticks, they’re going massive, lighting up the whole pack, producing a quite intoxicating atmosphere.

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While in western iconography dragons are mostly depicted as monsters about to be slaughtered by some king or warrior, in Chinese culture dragons are auspicious of good luck and protection.

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This old wood carving scene is the only item that’s not brand new here. It gives a feeling of tradition preserved.

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Protective dragons iconography is definitively abundant.

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And everybody queue up, for their ritual performance, locals and foreigners alike.

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The architecture is really well thought, with big openings to let air and light in, so even the inside part of this Benoa temple feels roomy and grandiose.

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While all celebrations here are omen of good luck for the coming year, for these little Roosters 2017 is not really starting well. They got colored and sold as souvenirs. Maybe they will have a chance and wont be eaten. Maybe the kid who is going to receive this gift will get attached to the little creature and keep it as pet. Maybe…

Read about Barongsai, the Lion dance

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