Ceremonies in Bali

They say there is never a day in Bali without a ceremony. By what I have seen and experienced living there I couldn’t agree more with the rumour.
I have been lucky enough to be in Bali during those ceremony-heavy times of the year when they celebrate Galungan, Kuningan and Nyepi-the silence day.

Galungan is when the family ancestors descend into the family temples, led there by seeing the long curved bamboo pole (penjor) that are erected in front of every Balinese house. For ten days, the ancestors are feted in the family temples; many temple festivals occur at this time of year and there is great feasting. On the last day, Kuningan, the ancestors are seen off with a flurry of yellow offerings and yellow rice.

Nyepi- The silence day is a ceremony happening in March, where the Balinese dedicate an entire day to introspection and spiritual cleansing, embarking on a new year based on the Balinese lunar calendar.
The night before the silence begins, there is an island wide parade of paper mache monsters (Ogoh-Ogoh)- (I will be having a separate post about that) sent about making rukus to scare evil spirits off the island, back to where ever they came from. Starting from about 6 a.m. on Friday, March 23 and continuing until 6 a.m. the next morning,everyone will stay in their family compounds (or hotels) and silence will overcome the island. There are no cars nor motorbikes, no tv’s or loud radios, no lamps or fires and no airplanes overhead as the airport is closed. Yes you read it, the airport is closed for meditation and introspection!

The interesting thing here is that even the tourists are expected to behave as the locals do and it felt wrong not to do it because the approach of this celebration is very serious and it inspires respect.

It was the weirdest day/night of my life. Not to mention the silence that fell on the island, blissful and painful in the same time.

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