Happy New Year 1940 – only in Bali!
When I woke up early this morning I could already feel excitement in the air – just like Christmas Eve at home. Many streets will close this afternoon so communities can get ready for tonight’s New Years Eve 1940 Events. Soon traveling any distance will be next to impossible.
Time is zooming along and there is still plenty on my, “To Do” List list while Bali so I needed to hit the road very early today – 6:30am if I was going to make it to Ubud by 8am and back by noon – any later would risk getting stuck on a road somewhere with no way to get back to the Melia Resort in Nusa Dua.
Good friends of my Uncle Bob and Aunt Linda moved to Bali from Canada, 8 years ago in order to built the LUX Villas in Ubud. I’m glad that I was able to tour this Villa Complex when we arrived in this famous town.
Along the way my driver pointed out the scooter riders who were heading home for the holidays – they were easy to spot as they carried a plastic bag holding the fruit that they will present their Mothers.
Many ceremonies had already started at various Hindu temples and I saw ladies carrying elaborate fruit offerings on their heads towards the temples. They were smartly dressed in white with contrasting yellow or red.
Teenagers were putting last minute touches on the, “Giants” they have been creating for a number of weeks and the bamboo platforms were being assembled so the “Giants” can be placed on them and paraded throughtout their community this evening.
My driver will ride his scooter over 2 hours to his family home this afternoon and will be one of the many who will carry a, “Giant” this afternoon. He was so excited! The Giants represent evil spirits.
After 100 I lost track of how many Giants we passed as we made our way to Ubud.
When we arrived in Ubud trying to get to the parking area was a real challenge as many streets were already closed in the town. Finally with my help, my driver was able to maneuver down some very narrow lanes to the very small Central Parking Lot.
The next dilemma – we could only get a voice message when calling the LUX Villas. We tried a number of times and my driver finally gave up and asked if I’m minded walking. We followed Google Maps to the resort. We asked a local along the way and he said we needed to climb up a steep hill into Rice Fields before we would arrive and he was right – the hill was steep but at the top the views were outstanding and well worth the effort.
After touring the LUX Villas 5 beautiful suites (perfect for a honeymoon) I bought a couple souvenirs at, “Grace” the Gift Shop named after the owners wife.
When they offered to take me back to the Central Parking Lot I was pleased until I learned it would be by SCOOTER! OH My Goodness – I felt like a local – the experience was great FUN – the ride was over way-too-soon.
Our next stop was the John Hardy jewelry complex. John Hardy, is a Canadian who started his jewelry empire in Bali many years ago. His deluxe brand is known throughout the World. He eventually sold the buisiness to an American Company and opened a “Green School” in Bali. He is well respected In Bali. John Hardy Jewelry employees over 700 Balinese.
I was not able to enter the manufacturing site as the staff has the day off to prepare for New Years but the rest of the complex and jewelry shop was open for a 1/2 day. I’ve been collecting John Hardy for a number of years so for me it was a thrill to visit the campus.
My driver stopped at another Jewelry Complex on our way back to Nusa Dua and even though the quality was not up to John Hardy standards, it was fun seeing their operation.
My whirlwind morning getaway finished at noon, luckily before many road closures started.
Its a beautiful day – sunny – low humidity – perfect sunbathing day at the pool.
My group all gathered at 4pm and walked to the gates of the town of Nusa Dua where we took our VIP seats for the New Years Eve festivities. We were definately treated as VIP’s. We sat in comfy chairs right behind the judging platform. Water was supplied. State of the art stage lighting was set up and media/tv crews were in full force.
The locals really made us feel welcome as we walked around prior to the parade to see some of the Giants.
the first half of the parade featured smaller giants carried by children. Their smiles beamed. After intermission the crowd swelled down the route (probably thousands) and the massive giants appeared. Dancing, music, drums all accompanied the Giants – was a spectacle with special effects and big productions. just amazing!
We stayed for 4 hours and left thrilled with what we seen. There was a departing committee thanking us for attending – wishing us Happy New Year and asking us to come back again. The spectacle continued until midnight when the, “Giants” were lead to the water and burn’t on the beach. They symbolize Evil Spirits so by burning them only Good Spirits remain.
What a terrific New Years Eve Event! An once-in-a-lifetime experience that only Bali can provide.
New Years Day is also known as, “Silence Day”. The island will shut down as the Hindus meditate, pray and spend time with their families.
Happy New Year – 1940! How wonderful to be moving back in time!