Melasti

mood: buzzzzzy!
listening to: the interview with Sarah Sanyahumbi

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I can't seem to relax in the evenings these days. There is always something going on outside that I feel necessary to get my butt off the bed, grab my camera and take pictures of the various events that are happening!

Do I sound like complaining?

Well I am not. :D

Right, so yesterday I went out of the office at exactly 5:30 to do some photo hunting for Melasti. This is a ceremony held by the Hindu people two days before Nyepi holiday (Silence Day), which would occur on the 7th of March. Since I myself will be escaping Bali on that day to Kuta Lombok -- because just like what the name implies, everyone has to be silent and not make any noises on that day; no fire (electricity, which means we will be in the dark once the sun sets); and no activities/works being done. If you break this cultural rule, the pecalang will get you a cultural sanction - I don't know what it is, but any sanctions will not be nice, will it? SO that's why I'm going to escape that day and have a long weekend in Kuta Lombok. As many of my friends, latest one was Rocky, have promoted its sheer beauty and all.

I can live without lights, but I can't live without sounds. :P

That means I will surely miss the Ogoh-Ogoh festival, which will be held the night before Nyepi. My friends, including Pam and Carol, are looking forward to it. They say it's a big festival that happens only once a year. And honestly I would like to see it, too. But I really can't bear to be in Bali the next day, really.
That gave me a reason to no way miss this Melasti ceremony.

Although I did almost miss it.

I went to 66 beach, as Carol wanted it, to finally be there and wait for about half an hour and get a text message from her that she didn't feel like going (doh! these Indonesian promises are really not to be accounted for!), and nothing was going on! I was like... where is the famous ceremony they have been telling me about?

After a while I decided to go back to my boarding house, find my landlord and ask him where it should take place. He told me it was in Kuta beach in front of the Hard Rock Hotel. I threw away my lunch box and notebook and sped my bike to THAT beach (which is actually nearer from my place than 66).

On the way there I saw a lot of people walking back from the beach on Poppies I lane and my heart sank and it was full of these negative thoughts that I'd already missed it. But, no! Luckily.

Arriving at the beach there were sooooooo many people in whites (like hundreds of them, and these come from only Kuta!). I was amazed....






I saw them throw an alive swan into the sea as a symbol of offering to the gods. Some visitors were screaming surprised and felt a pity for the poor animal to be thrown back and forth a few times. It didn't die of course, for it always swam back to the shore. But still, to see that with your own eyes...
Some gamelan music was played in the background and some people were praying, some others were burning incense.

After that a woman in a white kebaya came forward, put her offering by the shore, and broke an egg onto the basket. I was told that it was a symbol that the ceremony was over (see??? I was late!) and that it was time for them to walk on the parade.



Then I saw these really, really cute girls with thick makeup ala Balinese in yellow-dominated Balinese traditional kebaya. Later on in my boarding house, my landlord's son told me that earlier on (before I got there) the girls were performing a sacred, ritual dance called Rejang dance. *grumbles again*



Anyway, not long after that, the people were moving to the outer direction of Kuta beach (Jalan Pantai Kuta's gate, near The Wave club) and marching towards the Hindu temple near Kuta traditional market. These are the pictures I took of the parade, or what the Balinese called "Pepedan":




Info: The people here were holding a looooong white sheet, which was a symbol of the way to the throne of the gods. That is to say that the people support the gods.


The gamelan guys. Look at the very left one. Doesn't he look sweet? Lately I developed an opinion that Balinese men are not too bad to look at. But got a completely different opinion for the women, though. At least generally..

That's it. Not as many pictures as I took in Ngaben ceremony last weekend, but better than nothing. And I certainly "disturbed" a hell lot of people (again) to explain me about all the things I was curious about. Why they were doing this and that and all. Like this one last fact that Melasti is held before Nyepi because on Nyepi itself the Hindus can't really do the proper praying for they have to sort of meditate and get closer to the gods in a silent way. Some of them, especially the priests, fast like the Moslems do on Ramadhan. But it is not an obligatory thing to do.

Isn't this a beautiful culture? I feel so lucky to be here, live here, and to witness all these different things where in Java, for example, you will never get a second thought of what Nyepi really is.

6 comments:

  1. Bali is a wonderful island and has been blessed with its beautiful panorama and its unique culture. Many people are impressed on its tradition that has been well preserved for long decades. Take your chance traveling to Bali and get the discount Bali hotels and luxury private villas.

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  2. dari dulu aku selalu pengen merasakan suasana menjelang nyepi sampai hari H-nya, tapi gak pernah kesampaian :((

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  3. Wuiikkk
    kereeeeeen!!
    u bukane ke lombok la?

    nb: blog mu makin dooowooo ae yo...ketularan jurnalis?

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  4. valens: pindah aja lu ke bali. kalo aku sih ga tergila2 ama Nyepi. too crazy for me. tp upacara2 sebelum hari h-nya yg asyik.

    pyor: ke lombok kan baru minggu lalu. ini kan post 2 minggu yg lalu. :)
    blog makin panjang? foto2nya kali kebanyakan. dulu2 kan aku jarang masang foto, berhubung internet lambat. tp aku memang rada ketularan pengen nulis2 yg semi pro gitu lah.

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  5. Nyepi, or the Silent Day is a real contribution to GHG emission reduction which is fair, easy to implement and at almost no cost, because it requires only an individual will TO DO NOTHING FOR 24 HOURS!
    Bali can, can you?

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  6. Ya balinese people usually do the melasti ceremony before Nypei.

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