Back in the early colonial days of Bali, it was ruled by a man named Hall. Hall was a tyrant, who would work both natives and his fellow countrymen hard and harshly. People who had to dig irrigation ditches, for example, were made to work so long and so hard that, when they were finally allowed to stop, they could not let go of their shovels. Their hands were cramped onto the handles. He gave the workers less than slave rations while he at and drank as much as he pleased. And he was not one to spare the whip.
Finally, the people of Bali could stand it no more. They decided to revolt against Hall, and, one night in July, they gathered into a mob to storm Hall’s home. As they did not share a common language, they simply began to chant “Bali! Bali!” as they prepared for their revolt.
As it turned out, the seizing of power was accomplished more easily than they could’ve imagined. For Hall’s home was at the bottom of a canyon. And, as their cries of “Bali!” echoed off the canyon walls, the sound waves caused the building to collapse, rendering Hall and his supporters unconscious, thus making it easy for the protesters to take power.
Years later, it was decided to celebrate this event with an annual re-creation of it at Christmastime. The role of Hall is usually played by one of the dictator’s descendants, to atone for the misdeeds of the original Hall.
Of course, some people find it hard to understand why an event that happened in July is celebrated at Christmastime. The answer is simple.
It’s celebrated at Christmas because the people there couldn’t think of a better time to deck the Halls with howls of “Bali!”
April 08, 2014