Bali, Badung, Seseh. Balis gold, a fully grown ricestraw. Rise is not only food, it is a very important part of the Balinese and Indonesian culture and history. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)
Few things, if any, have had a larger influence on the development of Asia and Indonesia than the knowledge of how to grow and cultivate rice. Rice is intimately involved in the culture as well as the food ways and economy of many societies. Folklore tells us that when the Kachins of northern Myanmar (Burma) were sent forth from the center of the Earth, they were given the seeds of rice and were directed to a wondrous country where everything was perfect and where rice grew well.
Rice is an integral part of their creation myth and remains today as their leading crop and most preferred food. In Bali, it is believed that the Lord Vishnu caused the Earth to give birth to rice, and the God Indra taught the people how to raise it. In both tales, rice is considered a gift of the gods, and even today in both places, rice is treated with reverence, and its cultivation is tied to elaborate rituals.