Balitraveldiary.com – The Saka New Year for Balinese Hindus is an opportunity to restart life with a pure heart. Through observing geni rituals on Nyepi Day, every Hindu actually has the opportunity to evaluate his life’s achievements over the past year and re-plan his life plans for the coming year.
Prior to this stage, in 2 to 4 days before Nyepi, the Balinese Hindu community performs rituals of self-purification and its environment. The ritual is called a melasti ceremony.
The melasti or melelasti ceremony can be defined as nganyudang malaning gumi ngamet tirta amerta, which means to wash away natural impurities using living water. In Hindu beliefs, water sources such as lakes and seas are considered to be the origin of tirta amerta or living water.
These water sources provide life for all living things, including humanity. For this reason, melasti ceremonies are always held in special places such as the beach or the lake.
In this ceremony, the community will come in groups to water sources such as lakes and the sea. Each group or group comes from the same unit, such as from the same banjar or village.
Each group will come with the sacred devices of worship, namely statues, pratima, and pralingga from temples in their respective areas to be purified. Each community member also prepares offerings according to their abilities. This dish is part of the complement to the melasti ceremony.
Before carrying out the ritual, usually the committee of each group (banjar or village) will provide a table or stage that is positioned back to the sea or lake. This table is a place to put various sacred devices of worship along with various types of offerings.
All members of the group then sat cross-legged facing the line of worship and offerings, as well as facing the source of holy water. Local religious leaders (stakeholders) will then lead the procession of the ceremony.
The stakeholders went around and sprinkled holy water on all members of the community present as well as religious instruments and scattered incense smoke as a form of purification.
Next, a prayer ritual (five prayers) is performed by all members of the group. The stakeholders will then distribute holy water and bija (rice that has been soaked in holy water). The holy water is to be drunk while the bija will be applied to the forehead of every people who come. After the procession, the devices of worship were paraded back to the temple to undergo several other ritual stages.
To maintain order in the implementation of the melasti ceremony, the ranks of pecalang (traditional police) set a different time for each region (banjar). This is done so that each region can carry out rituals solemnly and optimally.
Therefore, throughout the fourth day to the second day before Nyepi, all over Bali will be seen by groups of people in prayer clothes who come and go to the beach or lake.
On the other hand, maintaining order of the annual ritual will be an unforgettable moment for tourists who have the opportunity to witness it.
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