Purification ritual held to welcome Nyepi - Tourism Indonesia




Monday, March 15, 2010

Purification ritual held to welcome Nyepi

Hindu devotees across Bali are welcoming the celebration of the Hindu new year of Nyepi by performing melasti, a procession to purify their souls.

Melasti is carried out on beaches and major water springs across the island.

People have been flocking to beaches since early Saturday morning to hold the purification ritual by carrying colorful offerings and performing pratima (sacred effigies).

Padanggalak Beach, 5 kilometers east of Bali's capital of Denpasar, turned into a sea of white as most of the adherents, who come from around 50 traditional customary village, wore white traditional attire.

"This is a sacred beach. Melasti is time to purify our body and souls from our wrongdoings," he said.

After performing a sacrifice ritual, they brought the pratima to the coast line, as well as dipping their feet in water. Devotees also ask to receive the gift of purification from the deity of the ocean, Waruna.

"We purify ourselves, as well as the temple statues and other symbols and paraphernalia to ward off misfortune," said devotee Rai Sutanaya.

On Monday, one day ahead of Nyepi, Hindus continue the series of rituals by carrying out the Tawur Agung (grand sacrificial) ceremony, aimed at appeasing negative forces. The Tawur will start with the sacrifice of various animals in the village's respective open field and will end with Pengerupukan, in which people hold a street parade and bring ogoh-ogoh (effigies) and then burn them.

"The Tawur ritual is usually performed in the morning and the pengerupukan is performed in the afternoon.

"The effigies are symbols of negative forces," Wiana said.

On the first day of the new year, falling Tuesday, the island will be in silence as people will halt their activities.

"Nyepi is time for Hindus to contemplate about what they have done in the previous year and aim to self-improve for the year ahead," Wiana said.

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