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Conceiving Culture

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Falling in love is inevitable. That’s what I believe through this time. And because of my open mindedness, I often do not root mny feeling on certain tribes, religions or races. That’s why I said yes to my lovely Balinese husband though I, myself, come from a total different religion and race. It goes the same as my perspective towards having kids. I never lie my decision on such things, too. 

Being Indonesian indeed teaches me to be someone who should compromise a lot about things that run in the community. Peer pressure is portioned in a super big bowl, booking each and everyone with baggages. Including me. Oh, hi my name is Ambar who was born and raised in a Javanese family and got married to a Balinese man just a year ago. I grew up in a family who never bothers whether I will end up with a Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, or Hinduist or even an Atheist as well as Chinese, Arabian, Western, etc. I surely am glad about this and never be more grateful. Being married to my husband who was born and raised in religious Balinese family somehow is a challenge for me. Despite of my husband is not the kidn of a strict-to-culture person which is the reason I decided to tie the knot to him, his family, however, certainly is. 

Basically, I used to not care about what people say nor try to please everyone, but I respect my husband and his family. Willing or not, I understand that marriage as many other things in life e.g. job, involves bits we do not want to do. That leaves us to compromise. Of his parents and family’s rituals, I never complain to join and practice in the ceremony. I think it is just a matter of culture, habit and a few of getting used to. I don’t bother at all. One thing I still do not yet get is about how his family sort of forces us to have kids even before officially getting married. 

After a year, I remain in the situation of honeymoon phase without a baby in my belly. It is not that we are not thinking about it but it is about we have another level of marriage system. We want to have fun in our marriage where kids are not yet our priority at the moment. We incredibly understand that it is full of responsibilities and we do not dare to make their life miserable because of us imupulsively conceiving them as the form of pleasing our parents or simply finding them cute to have. We are not really ready to carry them on our arms so we slow our steps.  

Nevertheless, I consider that the idea of having kids (depending on their term) must direct to something they believe in such a long time. So not to build my misconception any further, I attempted to find out the reason. I remember I have this Balinese friend who already carried a baby before getting married and some other acquaintances who also practiced this marriage system. Then I asked them and surprisingly their answers vary. One friend told me that offspring is essential in a Balinese family. When a Balinese married couple have not yet been pregnant after the wedding, they will be questioned all the time. They are expected, thus, to have a baby as soon as possible although it means to be pregnant onwards holding the ceremony. On the opposite of Indonesian families mostly that noting this occurrence as a mishap, Balinese does not find it taboo. Children are believed to be sacred gifts from there and are highly valued in Balinese society. Furthermore, it slips on their dogma about delivering a baby can concurrently smooth the path of their ancestors to descend to the earth. Conclusion is, the belief has been passed from generation to generation, cemented on their mind and heart (even unconsciously). Gradually, my comprehension of Balinese culture and Hindu religious rituals escalates to the level of beyond accepting. I think it is fascinating enough to undertake the exceptional Balinese form of Hindu religious rituals centralizing Balinese daily life. And to fathom that participation in religiously life is not a choice but an unspoken expectation. 

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