Marigolds in Bali
Marigolds are stunning flowers that are grown in their thousands in Bali. On every street corner and under every statue you will find an offering to the gods ‘Canang sari’ with food, candy, incense, marigolds and often a cigarette and money. Every day on our diving boat to Nusa Penida we place an offering in the water to ensure safe passage.
The farming of marigolds in Bali
In Indonesia the marigold flower is called Kenikir and the Balinese name is Bungan Mitir or Gemitir. The plants used in Bali usually have yellow-gold flowers, and sometimes light red or brown and they bloom continually. Marigolds are short-lived aromatic herbaceous perennials, with their pungent aroma it is believe they discourage insects from feasting on nearby crops.
Because the blooms are used in Balinese Hindu culture, daily demand is high and sustainable. Farmers usually cultivate marigolds during the dry season when water is inadequate to plant rice. The flower is grown commercially up in the mountains of Bali. Every morning they are brought down in truckloads to be sold at the markets for around Idr 15,000/kilo.
The significance of Marigolds in Balinese culture
This plant specifically has a role in Balinese culture as the marigold is commonly used for offerings. The golden yellow colour is associated with Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa, the supreme God in Balinese culture.
Marigolds are threaded into garlands and hung around the necks of statues, they are also a welcome present for visitors arriving at Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali.
If you take a drive through the countryside of Bali and you will see the most amazing sight of these beautiful bright flowers as far as the eye can see. In Holland you have tulip fields, in Bali we have marigolds!
If you want to find out more about the unique culture of Bali then check out our Diving Indo Land Tours, we have many to choose from or we can tailor make your tour depending on your interests.
Photos thanks to Jill and Marianne .