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Melasti purification ritual graces Yogyakarta beach

Stefanus Ajie
Stefanus Ajie

The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta | Wed, March 15, 2017 | 09:42 am
  • People take part in the labuhan ritual of releasing offerings into the sea during a melasti ceremony at Ngobaran Beach, Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta, on March 12.

    People take part in the labuhan ritual of releasing offerings into the sea during a melasti ceremony at Ngobaran Beach, Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta, on March 12. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    People take part in the labuhan ritual of releasing offerings into the sea during a melasti ceremony at Ngobaran Beach, Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta, on March 12.

  • Children collect some of the offerings that were not washed away after the melasti ceremony finished.

    Children collect some of the offerings that were not washed away after the melasti ceremony finished. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    Children collect some of the offerings that were not washed away after the melasti ceremony finished.

  • Hindu adherents undertake the ritual of cleaning and purifying sacred objects belonging to Segara Wukir Temple.

    Hindu adherents undertake the ritual of cleaning and purifying sacred objects belonging to Segara Wukir Temple. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    Hindu adherents undertake the ritual of cleaning and purifying sacred objects belonging to Segara Wukir Temple.

  • Gunungan (cone-shaped floats) are distributed to participants following the ceremony.

    Gunungan (cone-shaped floats) are distributed to participants following the ceremony. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    Gunungan (cone-shaped floats) are distributed to participants following the ceremony.

  • Incense sticks are added to offerings as part of the ritual.

    Incense sticks are added to offerings as part of the ritual. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    Incense sticks are added to offerings as part of the ritual.

  • Melasti participants walk toward the shore for the larungan ritual.

    Melasti participants walk toward the shore for the larungan ritual. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    Melasti participants walk toward the shore for the larungan ritual.

  • Pemangku (Hindu leaders) put incense sticks on offerings at Segara Wukir Temple.

    Pemangku (Hindu leaders) put incense sticks on offerings at Segara Wukir Temple.  OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    Pemangku (Hindu leaders) put incense sticks on offerings at Segara Wukir Temple.

  • The sound of Javanese gamelan instruments accompanied the melasti procession.

    The sound of Javanese gamelan instruments accompanied the melasti procession. OF JP/Stefanus Ajie

    The sound of Javanese gamelan instruments accompanied the melasti procession.

OF

Thousands of Hindus gathered at Ngobaran Beach in Saptosari district, Gunungkidul regency, Yogyakarta, on Sunday.

Hailing from across the regency and surrounding cities, such as Magelang, Sragen, Bantul, Kulon Progo and Surakarta, the Hindu adherents flocked to the seashore to participate in melasti, a Hindu ritual held to cleanse the soul and nature.

The purification ritual was performed ahead of Nyepi, the Hindu Day of Silence, a national holiday that falls on March 28 this year. 

The melasti ceremony was held in a customary Hindu-Javanese manner combined with Balinese traditions, accompanied by gamelan, the sound of bells and mantras. Fifteen temples around Gunungkidul presented offerings in the form gunungan (cone-shaped floats) comprising agricultural products as a symbol of gratitude for nature's blessings.

Read also: Gunungkidul develops turtle conservation beaches

The cleansing ritual started at Segara Wukir Temple, where ceremonial tools, statues and altars were purified. The ceremony continued with the tirta amrita procession that took place at South Beach as a symbol of life.

Some participants could be seen accompanying pemangku (Hindu leaders) who performed prayers on the seashore prior to the larungan ceremony. The offerings that had been purified were then released into the sea, symbolizing soul purification.

The ceremony ended with a prayer and the gunungan being shared among the participants. (kes)

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