March is a very special month in Bali, as the island ushers in the New Year according to the local calendar with a celebration that is utterly unique – combining purification ceremonies followed by a flamboyant street festival with Nyepi itself – a day of silence and contemplation. Melasti takes place three to four days before Nyepi – the biggest purification ceremony in the Balinese Hindu calendar, culminating on the island’s beaches where people undertake cleansing in the ocean.
The day of the Ogoh-Ogoh is the precursor to the start of the lunar New Year, which is celebrated on the following day, Nyepi. About a month before Nyepi, strange entities begin to take shape in the local banjar (village halls) all over Bali – huge skeletal structures constructed of wood depicting animals, humans and figures from Hindu and Balinese mythology. Later, papier-mâché skin will be applied, wigs, garments and other accoutrements to make them pleasing to the Dewa (Gods) and Buta Kala (Demons). On the day prior to Nyepi, the Ogoh-Ogoh are borne on litters and paraded up and down the streets.
Karma will be offering guest excursions to witness both Melasti and the Ogoh-Ogoh festival, before guests spend the day of silence itself in the luxurious confines of our Bali resorts. Karma Royal Jimbaran and Candidasa both have special programmes, while Karma Kandara is serving a special all day Rayunan Royal Buffet from 12-6pm to celebrate the New Year. Karma Kandara is also offering a special Nyepi two night package from 10-12 March, inclusive of a complimentary lunch.