Nyepi Laut, Galungan and Kuningan

Excerpts from our blog for Bali Hai Cruises on Nyepi Laut, Galungan and Kuningan

This September sees Galungan and Kuningan, and Nyepi Laut all fall within weeks of each other. The Hindu calendar is different from the Western calendar in that it is 210 days so dates for important ceremonies change every year and can often fall twice within a year. Galungan and Kuningan are huge celebrations in Hindu villages with most people returning to their family’s villages for days. In fact you can see this on Nusa Lembongan where people are either going back to mainland Bali to be with families or vice versa. The island is certainly busy right now and full of stunning colours and music!

The villages also start preparations days, often weeks, in advance – food is prepared, offerings made and my personal favourite – penjors designed and created then put up outside every house. Galungan and Kuningan are a time where people celebrate dharma winning over adharma, good over bad, and the penjors are central to this. The penjors have an important role in that on Galungan along with prayers and ceremonies, they welcome the spririts to the earth but on Kuningan they show them how to leave again. All penjors are curved like the mountains and some with candles or colours at the end to show the spirits the way home over the mountains. During this time everyone participates in prayer and offerings, sometimes several times a day, traditional clothing is worn, and families and friends share in delicious food, a day of reflection…and hopefully a nap! This year the staff at Hai Tide Beach Resort and Hai Tide Bar & Grill told me, that they were up at 2.30am onwards to get to temple between 3am and 6am. So a nap during the day would be needed I’d think…maybe after a big lunch of jaja (coloured cakes made of fried rice dough), lawar (spicy pork and coconut and vegetable dish), ares (a soup) and lots of rice and vegetables.

Nyepi Laut is similar to Nyepi in that it is a silent day, except that it’s a silent day for the ocean and as for Galungan and Kuningan, it falls on different days every year and it isn’t everywhere in Bali at the same time. This month Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida are celebrating Nyepi Laut which means that no person or boat or paddle board or anything is allowed in the ocean for the day. It is a day of respect to the water, and to go into the ocean would end in disaster according to the beliefs.It is a day of homage to Dewa Baruna who is the ruler of the seas and oceans, and it’s a day of keeping balance between people and the environment.

It’s an unusually quiet day as normally the boats are crossing regularly, the beaches see people enjoying all sorts of water sports, the pontoon is busy with people and our dive boats are taking our guests to enjoy the stunning marine life. We are actively involved in village life across Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida so we respect this day and as a result all our normal water and beach activities are put on hold for the day. We do ask all guests to the island to observe this important and special day, stay away from the beach and water, and make sure you don’t need to be anywhere in Bali on that day as no boats will be going.

Selamat Hari Raya Galungan dan Kuningan!

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