World Café

Travel the World Café at Elizabethtown Public Library

Elizabethtown Coffee Company is the heart of the World Café program at Elizabethtown Public Library and helps to advance our mission. The vision of the World Café is to increase awareness of authors, cultures and realities from around the globe. We want everyone to be able to discover new places and different ideas that expand our thinking and our minds.

Each month the Library selects a different location. Sometimes its a region within the United States. It might be a coffee or tea growing country and it may even be a body of water that houses sea creatures and mythical beings. You can sign up to participate in this year-long program and complete your World Café passport for a year of exploration and a chance to win fun prizes.

March Features Bali!

Location and Land Features

Bali is an island province of Indonesia, which is a country consisting of islands in southeastern Asia. While it is one of the smaller islands, it is one of the more well known. It is to the east of Java with the Indian Ocean to the south and the Bali Sea to the north. You will find it on the map below by looking in the lower center, underneath the “ND” in “Indonesia”.

Bali is mountainous, with lowlands in the south. Being part of the Ring of Fire, it is not surprising that there are two active volcanoes on the island. The largest one, which is also the highest peak (9,833 feet) in Bali, is Mount Agung. It is known locally as the “navel of the world” and temples throughout Bali each have a shrine dedicated to the spirit of this volcano.

Mount Agung most recently erupted in 2017 with the final sputtering of lava, rock, and ash being spewed in 2019. While there were not many injuries, tourism decreased which negatively impacted the economy of the island.

Rice, a Balinese Staple

Nasi, or rice, is an important part of Balinese cuisine. It is likely to be found at each meal of the day, especially for traditional families. The Jatiluwih rice terraces are not only the largest in Bali, they are also a UNESCO heritage site. The rice terraces allow for irrigation and for water to remain on the mountainsides to produce rice. The system was developed beginning in the 11th century and follows the Hindu beliefs of harmony with nature. This preserves the land while producing a prime harvest.

You can read more about rice in Bali, it’s production and life cycle, in the beautifully illustrated and written, Rice is Life by Rita Golden Gelman. Make sure to also check out the UNESCO Heritage website about the Subak irrigation system and the rice terraces. Not only will you learn more about the irrigation philosophy and how it works, you also will be treated to spectacular photos.

Sacred Monkey Forest

The harmonious relationship between humans and nature, as evidenced in the rice terraces, is also part of the mission of the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. This conservancy is based on the philosophy called Tri Hita Karana, which roughly translates to “three causes of well-being.”

This is the philosophy of life central to Bali. The three aspects are: 1) Harmony with the divine, 2) Harmony with people, and 3) Harmony with nature. The Monkey Forest combines all three in one place. Here you will find three temples, a beautiful forest with statues, and of course monkeys.

Pick up this month’s craft at the Youth Services desk so that you can create a monkey! You can also learn more about the forest at their website here.

Balinese New Year!

Bali is the only province of Indonesia which has a Hindu majority instead of a Muslim majority. It became a unique stronghold of Hinduism when Muslims took control of Java and the devout Hindus fled to Bali. Religion is important to the Balinese and today it is largely a blend of Hinduism, Buddhism, and local religious customs.

One of the more import holidays is Isakawarsa (the Balinese New Year). This is a six day long celebration which takes place in March. There are three days during the six which stand out in particular. On day two, there are Ogoh-Ogoh Parades. Villages make Ogoh-Ogoh which are large and highly stylized statues of demons, evil spirits, and other creatures from Hindu mythology. These figures are paraded around and later burned to symbolize evil leaving to allow space for positive energy in the new year.

The third day is Nyepi Day. This year, Nyepi is on March 23. For a full 24 hours, from 6am on the 23rd to 6am on the 24th, the entire island of Bali has a day of silence. Nyepi means “to be silent”. During this time people follow four restrictions:

  • Amati Geni: No fire or light
  • Amati Karya: No working
  • Amati Lelunganan: No travelling
  • Amati Lelanguan: No self-entertainment

Everything shuts down, stores and schools are closed, restaurants and roads are closed, only emergency services remain open. People in families remain inside for a time of introspection so as to start the new year with a clean slate. No one is allowed to go outside or to take a walk on the beach. This includes locals and visitors, so if you are visiting Bali on this day, plan to remain in your hotel room. Pecalang, local guards, patrol the island to ensure peace and quite.

The fourth day, Ngembak Geni, then kicks off the celebration of the new year. On this day people forgive each other and welcome in the new year together.

Bali Books

If you want to travel to the tropical paradise that is Bali while staying at home, you can travel in the books available at the Library! Learn about Balinese folklore in The Dancing Pig by Judy Sierra. This book tells the tale of heroic animals who come to aid sisters who were kind to them. For the history buff or anyone who wants to learn about life on this paradisical island, A Brief History of Bail by Willard A. Hanna is for you. The World Cafe wouldn’t be complete without food, and Paon: Real Balinese Cooking is a real treat. This cookbook goes way beyond simply providing recipes and instructions; it is filled with pictures, stories, and delicious dishes throughout Bali. It truly provides an in depth look at Bali through food and beyond.

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