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January 9, 2020


Pic by @dominicvanyi

Siwa Ratri, also known as the Night of Siwa, is a key part of Bali’s event calendar. The popular event is dedicated to the god known as Siwa.

Siwa is known to devout Balinese as the destroyer. According to religious tales passed down through the generations, it is believed that on this day that Siwa intervened for the world in order to maintain peace. The Balinese people also believe that on this day, Siwa would allow for the forgiveness of sin of people who meditated in his honor. Part of these rituals involves restricting yourself from a number of things including sleep and food.

Jagra; which involves staying awake all night and Upawasa; abstinence from food, are accompanied by observing silence through the event, a phenomenon known as Monabrata. The three, fasting, staying awake and remaining silent are considered the three key levels of self-restriction and typically last for 36 hours.

Once the 36 hours elapse, the locals will proceed to the beach to partake in purification rituals. This involves holding a prayer session followed by taking a quick dip in the frigid waters of the sea. After this ritual, the locals go back to their daily activities.

Failure to do so is believed to nullify the strides made as far as self-restriction is concerned. Siwa Ratri is an important event for the locals and is interesting for foreigners to observe.

Ceremonies are conducted at temples around the Island People who participate pray, meditate and discuss holy texts in the temple of the dead (Pura Dalem) or the temple of origin (Pura Push)

Pic by @dominicvanyi

Celebrations Occurring at Temples, All Around Bali

Siwa Ratri often referred to as the ‘night of Siwa’, is an auspicious time for introspection and meditation, during which the Balinese pray for forgiveness of their earthly sins and for support and strength from the god Siwa (Shiva) in order to reach their higher selves. Part of these rituals involve fasting and staying awake all night, so Siwa Ratri is also known as the longest night. Siwa Ratri is celebrated during the new moon of the 7th month of the Balinese calendar and there are a series of ritual observances throughout the day.

The philosophy of Siwa Ratri can be traced back to a folk story of a lone hunter named Lubdaka. Lubdaka was out hunting and got lost in the wilderness. The sunset and he was in the dark, alone so he climbed a tree to avoid wild animals. He was afraid of falling from the tree if he fell asleep, so he began picking leaves and dropping them into a pond below while chanting prayers to god Shiva. He stayed awake all night and got home safely the next day.

When Lubdaka died, he was greeted by Shiva in the afterlife and his bad deeds were erased because he meditated to Shiva that night. Siwa Ratri (the night of Shiva) is remembered by meditating, staying awake and fasting. The meaning behind these practices is to remind the Balinese to remain vigilant and always keep the gods in mind when navigating through the symbolic darkness of the night.

Siwa Ratri begins with an early morning prayer, typically ending at 6:00 am. The ritual typically consists of three fasting activities:

Upawasa: not eating or drinking for 24 hours

Fasting is a method of self-control and reflection to reach spiritual enlightenment.

Monabrata: not talking for 12 hours

Silence is a method to learn not to speak impulsively and to choose honest, kind words; not to speak evil or lie, and to learn to listen more attentively.

Mejagra: not sleeping for 36 hours

Not sleeping is a technique to train to be awake and aware of our approach to life which should always be carried out with conduct of insight and wisdom.

The Siwa Ratri celebration also aims to overcome materialism and to build a closer connection with God through surrender and prayer. Each of these (non-)activities are methods to learn to be self-conscious at all times, to have self-control in all circumstances. When completed, each of them is followed by prayers and offerings in the house temple.

The culture is can not be denied that it is a treasure along the time. We grateful can share this experience with you, our accommodation fulfills with special service for our guest. Please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can plan it with you!

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