Bali’s cultural calendar is a non-stop cycle of religious ceremonies and colourful rituals that dominate all aspects of daily life on the island. The most unique occasion of all is Nyepi Day or Balinese New Year in accordance to the Saka Lunar calendar system. Unlike turn of the year festivities in other parts of the world, it is celebrated in silence as the entire island literally shuts down for 24 hours. The lead up to this holy day involves a number of different events that are all intrinsically tied to the whole Nyepi experience such as Melasti Ceremony and Pengerupukan.
Melasti is a customary procession for followers of the Hindu faith that always takes place in the days leading up to the Saka New Year. It involves sacred temple artefacts being carried to the sea or nearest holy spring for ritual purification. The best locations to observe this unique tradition are Kuta Beach and Sanur Beach as hundreds of Balinese people parade along the shoreline dressed in white ceremonial costumes. Visitors are reminded to be respectful of these proceedings by taking photos from a distance, especially during prayers.
The eve of Balinese New Year in accordance to the Saka Lunar calendar is a festive celebration that takes place just before the island is shrouded in silence. Giant monster effigies are carried through the streets in lively parades featuring flaming torches, firecrackers and loud gamelan music. The aim is to create as much noise as possible to deter unseen spirits and malevolent forces from disturbing Bali’s seemingly peaceful existence.
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