Melasti Ceremony just before Nyepi

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We’re quickly approaching Nyepi, the traditional day of silence to bring in the Balinese New Year. I asked my friend Gede to take me to Lebih beach to a Melasti Ceremony the other day. It’s one of the most important of the Hindu rituals here in Bali. It happens once a year, starting about 3-4 days before Nyepi. Each banjar goes to either a beach or a holy spring during that time in a parade precession, bringing all their ceremonial symbols of the Gods to the water to purify all the elements of the universe. This means Barongs, Spears, Kris’ and Umbul-Umbuls (banners) to name a few. Some banjars arrive at the beach with various big trucks full of Balinese dressed up to pray and purify. Others walk to the beach in a procession carrying Gong Pulu’s (iron gongs), Ceng-Ceng (small bonze cymbals) and other instruments to play as they walk through the streets.

One explanation of this tradition is to purify the Bhauna Alit (the small world) and Bhuana Agung (the universe) from bad influences, bad deeds and bad thoughts. Some say that Bhuana Alit represents the heart and soul of each individual while Bhuana Agung represents the universe. Going to the water to pray purifies every level of our being.

Now begins the parade of Ogoh Ogoh’s through the street before we go into a full day of silence…

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