Bali, Travel

Busy Sundays in Bali

Sometimes is difficult to find peace and quietness, even in Bali.

The Balinese people don’t have Sundays. Every day they start their day early in the morning. At 7 AM I already hear scooters nearby. I go to the kitchen to make some tea and see that the garbage was taken out and the floor was cleaned.

At 8 AM I take my laptop and go outside in the garden to write an article for the blog. Somebody is dusting off and mopping the area, so I need to find another place.

I go to the warung, people are cleaning this area, too. A girl is sweeping the floors, removing any garbage and offerings left from yesterday. Another one is washing dishes. Both of them ask me if I want breakfast. A man is cleaning the fountains and the stone aquariums. He is on top of them, cleaning the fish water.

Another man is cleaning a whole house by itself. He just climbed out of the first floor window, sitting on the tiles and washing the windows on the outside. He cleans on the tables and under them. He mops the inside and outside stairs. It’s not even 9 AM (on a Sunday).

The owner lady is going back and forth giving instructions. Some areas remain uncleaned, while others are sparking clean.

An old lady is making offerings by hand. She has a full tray ready with like fifty of them. Each house, place, floor and corner of this establishment has a small shrine. And each of them receives an offering. Every (damn) day. 

When I wake up late or go out of my room after 10 AM, I don’t notice any of this. But I notice that everything is clean (just like the day before). I notice the nice smell of the incenses burning slowly. By 10 AM everybody quiets down. 

I take a seat in the garden and order breakfast. I notice that the staff, women and men, is sitting on the floor eating nasi goreng (fried rice). They are having a late breakfast or an early lunch, already. I just woke up. 

The Balinese do have a day when they quiet down. One day per Balinese year. It’s called the „Silent day” or „Nyepi„. It is the last day of the 354 (355) days Balinese saka calendar and it is unsurprisingly dedicated to God Shiva. The locals use this day to stay in silence, fast and meditate for twenty-four hours. It’s a body-mind-soul cleansing so they start fresh a new year. One thing I like about the Saka calendar is that it has twelve months and each month starts in the first day after the new moon.

In parallel, the Balinese also use the 210 days Pawukon calendar, which complicates in my opinion things even more. The result is a very complex way of life which the locals strictly follow, very different from a christian Monday to Sunday week, with 5 days of working and 2 days of rest. 

I am not a religious person, but it’s very difficult for me to understand the Balinese way of life and routine, having lived most of my life in a christian society which has different rules of how to live, some of which I did not realize until now.

I wonder if today’s agitation has anything to do with the fact that today is a full moon.

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