Turning Time Back to 1940
We Are Soon Going BACK In Time – Celebrating the New Year – 1940 in Bali!
Its fascinating that on Saturday the Bali’s Hindu’s which make up 90 percent of the islands population and all the tourists will be bringing in the New Year of 1940. The Hindu’s follow the Lunar Calendar where a month has 35 days.
New Years Eve is also referred to as Nyepi Day – a time to get rid of evil spirits. The young people create “Giants” – huge figures that they will carry in the streets , these represent the evil spirits – after the “parade” of Giants they will be taken to the ocean and burn’t to rid of the evil spirits.
For a few days before Nyepi Day there are many, “purification ceremony” processional to the ocean – where the locals are all dressed in white but some ladies will wear yellow. The monk blesses them with holy water. This event happens just once a year.
We saw many of these processionals on our Northern Island tour today – we are so lucky to be here during this time period – we witnessed walking processionals consisting of hundreds of people with drums pounding but we mainly saw vehicle processions – trucks carry worshipers to and from the ocean for the Ceremony- many started preparations at 1am this morning and the convoy to the ocean started at 3am.
Todays greatest experience for us was when we arrived at a breathtaking Hindu temple located on the water – as luck would have it a, “purification ceremony” was taking place so we were surrounded by it. Just incredible!
Today was one of the greatest cultural travel experiences of my 30 plus years taking groups around the World!
Tomorrow we will walk to the entrance of the Nusa Dua community where we will watch the New Years Eve celebrations. I’m sure we will be dazzled by the “Giants” parade – these are truly works of art that often take a month to create. Many of the male teenagers dye their hair for this event, especially if they are carrying the “Giants” but they have to dye it back to its natural colour before they return back to school.
Saturday is, New Years Day which is also called, “Silence Day” – the locals take this day very seriously – everything comes to COMPLETE stand still on this island on Silence Day – NO flights in or out of the COUNTRY – no vehicles on the roads EXCEPT for emergency, NO walking on streets – locals stay home and my passengers and I will need to remain at our resort – locals turn lights OFF – television and internet will have NO reception during Silence Day – so don’t expect a blog post from me – the Hindus will fast as they cannot start a fire or use gas/propane.
For me and my passengers todays highlight was experiencing the many, “purification ceremonies” but we were also in awe of beautiful scenery especially when we traveled through the terraced rice fields and climbed high elevations surrounded by rural communities. The monkeys greeted us too!
So much of a Bali Hindu’s life is based around offerings and celebrations.
Offerings start first thing in the morning when a Mother or Grandfather who prepares breakfast gives thanks by placing little offerings throughout the house. Throughout the day they leave over 20 offerings.
The Bali Hindu’s love a festival –
Every 16 days when there is a full moon or dark moon there is a festival.
The largest festivals occur every 210 days – every 6 months – when the temples are elaborately decorated.
There is a Ceremony for those who have passed – this happens every 6 months – their favourite food is prepared for 10 days and then the spirit leaves the earth again – so that means another celebration.
During the Knowledge day celebration students and teachers dress beautifully – a monk visits schools and talks about knowledge – this is a class free day – students that are not Hindu get the day off.
There is also a Ceremony for anything metal like cars/motorcycles/scooters/equipment as it is believed they have spirits that look after people.
During the Ceremony for animals they get feed twice their typical amount of food.
The reason for the Ceremony of trees, fruit trees etc is to ask for a good harvest.
Every 6 months a celebration is held in honor of music instruments and band/dancer uniforms.
Your soul dictates which of these ceremonies you will take part in but many Bali Hindu’s participate in all of them.
Sunday New Years Day is celebrated. Locals usually work very long hours and often everyday so this New Years Day is spent visiting relatives with presents in tow and humbly apologize for what they have done wrong.
Today was truly an, “Eat, Pray, Love” Experience Day.
My passengers and I are excited about what the following days have in store for us but we have to wonder if Bali’s karma can get any better than it was today!