Hari Raya Nyepi, the Balinese Hindu New Year or “Nyepi,” falls on March 21, 2015, and on this auspicious occasion - the Caka Year of 1937 - many ceremonies and rituals are held throughout the Island of Bali. Centra Taum Seminyak is, as always, respectful of these celebrations, and is proud to be a local focus for some of the most important aspects of the festivities and ceremonials.
On Thursday the 19th March 2015
a key preparation for the coming New Year occurs; namely, the Purification Ceremony, known locally as “Melasti.” Offerings and holy objects such as statues and “keris” (traditional weaponry) line the path of a colorful procession that makes its way to the beach for ritual cleansing. Flowers will be laid out on the beach and prayers offered as participants seek to wash away the ills and wrong-doings of the previous year in the sea. Guests at the hotel are welcome to come to the beach to witness this ceremony but are requested to observe quietly from a distance.
The climax of ritual activity is on Nyepi Eve, when spectacle and noise are created to bring evil spirits to Bali. Nyepi Eve celebrations start at sunset with “Ngrupuk parades,” the highlight of which are the “ogoh ogohs” - huge colorful papier mache figures of demons that are carried or driven around every town and village in Bali, accompanied by music, explosions and fireworks. Then, during the darkest new moon night, Balinese priests perform a “tawur agung,” praying and ritually sacrificing a variety of animals to appease these demons and honor the gods as a way to reconcile powerful but conflicting forces of good and evil.
The parade finishes shortly before midnight with the burning of the ogoh ogohs, which symbolizes the banishment of the evil spirits. Guests who may wish to observe the parade are invited to contact the Hotel’s Front Desk to make arrangements.
The first day of the Caka New Year falls this year on Saturday, March 21, and is also known as Hari Raya Nyepi. This, by way of contrast with the previous evenings’ raucous noise-making, is a day of complete silence. This is to fool the spirits, so that when they return at sunrise, they can detect no activity that interests them or encourages them to linger, so they decide to leave for the year. The entire island of Bali will be incredibly quiet, with no visible human activity, no noise and no lights.
Centra Taum Seminyak is offering guests special festive New Year’s packages for three days and two nights during the holiday period. The special package rate also come with a variety of extra benefits, including a buffet lunch and dinner for two people, a daily breakfast, and a complimentary welcome drink.
The celebrations mean that the Hotel’s swimming pool, T Bar and Taum Restaurant will be closed from 6:30 pm on Saturday until the following morning. A buffet-style dinner will be available in the Taum Restaurant during the Saturday evening however.
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