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Jakarta Post

Thousands flock to Bali's beaches for Melasti purification ritual

  • Ni Komang Erviani

    The Jakarta Post

Denpasar   /   Mon, March 4, 2019   /   07:33 pm
Thousands flock to Bali's beaches for Melasti purification ritual Balinese Hindus walk along Lembeng Beach in Gianyar, Bali, during Melasti, a purification ceremony held ahead of the holy day of Nyepi (Day of Silence). (The Jakarta Post/Agung Parameswara)

Dressed in simple predominantly white attire, thousands of Balinese Hindus flocked to the beaches across the Island of the Gods on Monday for the sacred Melasti purification ritual.

The ceremony to clean the “stains” of the universe and wash away the “dirtiness” of nature was held ahead of the national holiday of Nyepi (Day of Silence) that will fall on March 7.

The Hindus escorted sacred effigies of gods and goddesses and ritual paraphernalia from their village temples to the beach.

"It is very hot here. But we have no choice except to enjoy it. This is a special ceremony for the gods and goddesses. We enjoy the ceremony every year," said Made Ayu Ratna Pratiwi, 39, a resident of Buduk village who participated in the ceremony with her husband and son under the scorching sun at Pererenan Beach in Canggu, North Kuta. 

Participating in the procession was special for Kadek Novi Febriani. "It makes me feel relieved. It feels like we perform a complete prayer as we escort the gods and goddesses," said Febriani, who attended the ceremony on Legian Beach. 

Chairman of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Hindu Religious Councils (PHDI) IGN Sudiana said the celebrants carried effigies of the gods and goddesses to the beach to get tirta amerta [holy water]. 

The celebrants then took the holy water back to their villages and sprinkled it on every resident, as well around their houses and rice fields. "We believe that tirta amerta is everlasting holy water, the water of life," Sudiana said. 

The purification ritual is performed every year prior to Nyepi. "So, we observe Nyepi with a positive energy," Sudiana added.