Thu, 06 Jan 2000

The millennium on Bali: Mediation and purification

Text by I Wayan Juniarta photos by Murdani Usman

DENPASAR, Bali (JP): To welcome the new millennium, the island of Bali was enlivened with gala festivities.

Despite the millennial fanfare to welcome the year 2000, and colorful New Year parades along Kuta beach, the celebration of the new year in Bali was not as jubilant as it has been in the past.

The 30 percent decrease in tourist traffic (from 106,775 in December l998), and the approach of religious fetes among the Gunungan and Kuningan Hindu communities, as well as Ramadhan and Idul Fitri among Muslims, have constrained Balinese resources for millennial celebration plans.

Three major events did result this year, however: the Sacred Rhythm International Percussion Festival at Samuan Tiga Temple in Pejeng, Gianyar; Nyurya Sewana Bumi 2000 at Sanur Beach, Denpasar, and Bali Artventures 2000, which each drew thousands of viewers at the sites.

The opening ceremony of the Sacred Rhythm Festival was inspired by Nyepi, a Hindu Day of Silence ceremony.

The ceremony began with a parade of Ogoh-ogoh (oversize dolls in the form of evil creatures) proceeding from Penataran Sasih Temple to Samuan Tiga Temple in Pejeng, the center of the ancient Balinese Kingdom Bedulu. Involving hundreds of youth from Pejeng and the surrounding areas, the procession attracted the attention of thousands of domestic and international tourists as well as the local Balinese people.

The Sacred Rhythm Festival was organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) who have set the year 2000 as the year for peace. The Sacred Bridge Foundation presented international artists such as Jin Hi Kim from South Korea, Stomu Yamash'ta from Japan, Vikku Vinayakram from India, and Indian musicians Djaduk Ferianto and I Wayan Sadra. Dancer Soeprapto swayed to music composed by Rahayu Supanggah.