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Jakarta Post

Ritual Melasti ceremony

Wed, March 21, 2018   /   10:19 am
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    It takes a village: Balinese Hindus walk along Lembeng Beach in Gianyar during the Melasti purification ritual on March 14.JP/Agung Parameswara

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    King of spirits: Male participants carry the sacred Tiger Barong. JP/Agung Parameswara

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    Sprinkle of water: A Balinese sprinkles holy water over participants of the Melasti ceremony at Lembeng Beach. JP/Agung Parameswara

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    High in the sky: Ritual paraphernalia from temples are brought to beaches during Melasti. JP/Agung Parameswara

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    Into the waves: A man throws a duck into the ocean as an offering during Melasti. JP/Agung Parameswara

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    Altered state: A man attempts to stab himself with a kris dagger while in a state of trance. JP/Agung Parameswara

Agung Parameswara

Last week, Balinese Hindus marched to beaches, major rivers, lakes and holy springs prior to the celebration of the Day of Silence to perform Melasti, a ritual to cleanse temple paraphernalia and recharge the supernatural power of the temple’s sacred objects.

Residents of Sukawati village in Gianyar gathered at Purnama Beach to perform the ritual. In Gianyar, Melasti was carried out at six beaches: Siyut, Masceti, Purnama, Lembeng, Pabean and Rangkan. In Badung, devotees crowded Seseh, Batu Bolong, Kuta and Peti Tenget beaches and in Denpasar, they went to Sanur and Padang Galak beaches.

Many years ago, Melasti was performed on foot with residents walking to the beaches from their villages. Today, most people travel by car or motorcycle to perform the ritual, even if they live near the beach.

Balinese Hindus believe that the ocean’s water has powerful healing and protective properties. According to their beliefs, ocean water can be used to neutralize negative energy while sand can be used to protect houses from black magic attacks.