An Offering Basket Procession in Ubud, Bali

Women balance spiritual offering baskets on their heads in Ubud, Bali.

While walking to dinner, we were delighted to cross paths with a procession of women as they gracefully carried offering baskets to a nearby Ubud, Bali temple.

Younger girls utilized a ‘training wheels’ technique – practicing carrying the hand-woven baskets by using both hands, whereas their mothers and grandmothers carried one basket or even double-decker versions on their heads. Often, they walked along without even applying a fingertip to the basket!

Sporting the traditional kebayas (blouses), kamens (a type of sarong) and sash, they came on foot or by motorbike. If they were not piloting the bike themselves, they rode side-saddle on one piloted by a male family member.

Two women, along with a small child, ride a motorcycle to deliver the basket of spiritual offerings.

Where in the World?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All rights reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

18 thoughts on “An Offering Basket Procession in Ubud, Bali

    1. We have been lucky to have happened upon all these celebrations. It seems that in Bali, every day the people have reason to celebrate. It is really a beautiful way to approach life!

      We had a particularly fun time snapping these pictures as we ate dinner at a tree house-like restaurant with an amazing perch overlooking the street leading to the temple. We feel like kids again here, observing ant life, trying fruits we’ve never seen before, and learning about the local customs. Life here is certainly beautiful!

  1. awesome photos. Isn’t it wonderful when you stumble on something such as this procession, unexpectedly? The cultural significance of traveling really shines through. Thanks for sharing these images.

    1. Hi Marina, a pleasure to ‘meet’ you – so happy you found my site, as it allowed me to discover yours (and I really like your concept of incorporating inspirational quotes with beautiful images).

      You’re spot-on with your comment about the “cultural significance of traveling” really shining through with such encounters. Such are the serendipitous moments that make traveling spiritually and intellectually nurturing! Hope to see you again, and look forward to seeing more on your site!

  2. Beautiful photos Tricia! You have captured Balinese life better than anyone I have seen. I know it’s the photographer rather than the camera that makes the shot, but do you have any recommendations for a novice photogapher? I’ll be looking to purchace a new camera for our travels soon :)

    1. Hi Sarah! Thanks for your kind compliments about the pictures I’ve been able to take of the vibrant celebrations here in Bali! I’m humbled as I’m still learning the ropes too.

      I’m happy to share my camera experiences, but please know that I still have so much to learn! My new camera is the first DSLR I’ve ever owned. (Prior to this one, I’ve always had a point and shoot camera.) Mine is a Nikon D5100 and I think it’s the mid-range DSLR (just below an entry level professional camera). I bought the lens and body separately, as I read that you can get a better quality lens that way (as opposed to the lens that would automatically come with a more commercial kit). Just last month, Amazon was having a great promotion if one were to purchase the lens/camera body together.

      Depending upon the types of shots you like to take, the lens makes a big difference! I’d originally purchased a body with an 18-55 mm. lens and then a separate 55-200 mm lens and I was so disappointed that I was constantly changing the two lenses out (to have the versatility of zooming and taking more close-ups). I was worried what it would be like lugging two lenses around Southeast Asia and then changing them in dusty surroundings, regularly. I finally decided to exchange the lenses for one that does the same range (18-200 mm). Though the new one lens is heavier by itself, it definitely beats carrying around the weight and volume of two lenses! And, I have the same versatility in one. Another really cool gadget I picked up at a photography shop in Germany is a slash proof strap made by Sun Sniper. I think there’s metal cables built inside. It’s comfortable too as it takes the pressure off your neck. I think it’s also available on Amazon.

      On a side note, we love our backpacks, which are made by Pacsafe; they give great peace of mind and are like portable safes wherever you go. We heard about them from a fellow ’round the world traveling acquaintance. I’ll share more details if you’re in the market for an amazing James Bond-esque pack!

      1. Sarah – oops – forgot to mention that it’s nice to have more of a zoom lens if you want to be more discreet with your shots of people :-)

        You must be getting so excited about your departure date – when will you be hitting the road, and do you know your first country yet?

      2. Tricia – thanks for this helpful info about your camera purchase. I am in the market for one and cannot wait to receive it (as an early Xmas present). You have done a great job with the photos – a budding photographer!

      3. Your compliment really means a lot – thank you, or as they say here in Bali, “Matu suksama”.

        Here’s hoping that Santa brings you a new camera sometime soon. :) I cannot think of a better present. Personal photographs really do make the best travel souvenirs.

      4. I agree – just being inspired by so many amazing photographs makes you want to take as many as possible. You capture street scenes and real life very well. Always fun with a sense of movement. You’re in a beautiful country for photography! Will keep you posted of my camera purchase!!

      5. Do keep me posted! I am watching a camera tutorial this afternoon, and have my eye on some new accessories featured there (particularly the accessory flash). Just not sure I’ll be able to squeeze it into my luggage! :-)

    1. Hi TBM, the colors are most impressive – everything from the emerald-green dragonflies to the vibrant offerings and colorful architectural details and batik fabrics. It’s such a celebratory atmosphere, enhanced by the beautiful smiles of the locals! Is Indonesia on your “192 Countries List”?

      1. Yes! I can’t wait. As of now though, we will be visiting European countries since I just moved to London from Boston. But I’m hoping to see this beautiful country!

  3. TBM – My husband and I just left Germany. I’d been living there for 10 years. If you visit, I highly recommend seeing Heidelberg. It has a touristic nature, but so much architectural charm and a beautiful valley setting.

    London’s also a fun spot – how long will your stay there be?

  4. Tricia, You captured this lovely ritual so perfectly! I love your description of the young girls’ “training wheels technique.” No wonder the beautiful Balinese women have such perfect posture. ~Terri

    1. Terri, belated thanks for your thoughtful words! I suppose those vibrant-colored offering baskets are a more attractive option than a book for posture practice, aren’t they? :)

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