Last night it was a full moon. This is one of the most sacred days in the Balinese Hindu calendar, as the moon is believed to be extremely powerful and magical. The Balinese celebrate this day every month by holding temple ceremonies and various other rituals. My family all went to our village to offer our prayers at our family temple.
It was a very dark night, despite the full moon, and it was raining hard. It seemed everyone was on the roads, traveling to their various temples, dressed in the traditional white clothing. Parents and children piled on one motorbike, huddled together, trying to shield each other from the cold rain. It was a slow journey, which became even slower once we hit the village path. We were slipping from left to right as we tried to keep on the tiny concrete path. All I could think was thank goodness I am not driving! My husband managed to keep the car straight and we finally arrived at our destination.
We bundled in to our house, trying to keep dry under an umbrella, but meanwhile our feet were squelching in the mud under foot. The flowers and fruit offerings had already been prepared by the villagers earlier in the day, and were all laid out ready for us as we stepped through the door. The priest arrived not long after, in his flowing white robes, and turban like structure on his head. He smiled his warm smile, and swiftly got down to business, blessing the house and temple area, ringing his little bell, and muttering mantras under his breath.
As if by magic, the rain cleared, and we were able to stand out by the temple to receive our blessings from the priest. There are various rituals involved in this, none of which I completely understand, I just do as I am told. It starts with holding our hands palms up, while mantras are whispered and various sticks are passed over, we are then instructed to place our hands palm down, while more rituals are performed. A young coconut is produced and we are given three sips each. We offer up our prayers, holding various colored flowers, and finally, we are blessed with the holy water, and rice is placed on our heads, and flowers in our hair.
All through the ritual, I am saying my own silent prayers to my own idea of God. This is what I appreciate about Balinese Hinduism. There are mantras, but there is also quiet time for us to create our own connection with the higher being. No preaching, just being. This works perfectly for me.I do not claim to be an expert, I only know what I have experienced, and observed. By the end of the whole procedure, a feeling of calm had settled on us, and we stayed a while, enjoying the calm of the village, before venturing back to the craziness of the city.