Yesterday, on March 6th, the people of Ubud built huge statues of monsters made out of paper mache. Each monster, or evil spirit as they were being represented, was held on a bamboo stretcher and held aloft at an intersection of three roads in the center of Ubud. They shook the monsters, animating them, waving their arms and shaking the hair around on their heads. Some had horns, other had tongues, and all of them had very sharp fangs and teeth. They were paraded through the streets, and then, at 1am, the evil spirit statues were burned to be rid of them. This was similar to our New Year’s Eve.
Today, on March 7th, it is a silent day. A day of refelction. No loud noises, no working, no traveling, and no using electricity. Not a single person can walk out onto the streets, except people enforcing the rules. Everyone is in their houses, contemplating themselves, the world, and life. This is similar to our New Year’s Day.
Tomorrow, on March 8th, the people of Ubud open up their eyes and mouths to a new world and a new year of endless possibilities. People start anew with newfound ambitions, goals, and a strong mind for the year to come. This will be similar to our first full day of a new year.
The Balinese New Year occurs in early March, and they even have a different year than us. For us it is 2019, but for them, today the year 1941 begins.
Yesterday we watched as the spirits were presented to the crowds in the center of Ubud. Today we think profoundly about the world, being rid of all the evil spirits that have been bothering, taunting, and haunting us for the past year.
During the day of silence, the only thing we could do on our touchpads was reading. The entirety of Bali shut down its internet. There was no work allowed, which meant no schoolwork. There was no going out onto the streets, so we ate leftovers and food that we had stocked up on for this day. After 6pm, no lights were allowed on, so the whole of Bali was plunged into darkness.
I spent all my time either reading, swimming, meditating, or doing some kind of arts and crafts activity. Reading was a fun way to pass the time. Swimming was calming and quiet, for I had a lot of room to think while I was under the water. Meditating is exercise for the mind, and a good habit to get into. Janet had even bought some watercolor paints and supplies, so I also spent some time on that, my thoughts to myself.
There was so much to ponder and think about. For about twenty minutes, I just lay in my bed, thinking about any questions and wonderings that popped into my mind. I meditated beforehand to just help clear my mind of anything that was bothering me.
Today I was practically mindful of everything I did on my own. If other people weren’t there, I just let my mind observe but not judge, dancing around what was in front of my eyes, from the pool water to the sun glancing off the palm tree. It was so beautiful, the nature combined with society that was in front of me. I heard the birds chirping, and at night, the frogs croaking. I slept a very silent, deep, and reflective sleep that night.
Below: Our Bungalows