When we arrived in Ubud in Bali, we immediately noticed that something different, a very special moment of the Balinese culture was taking place: the Full Moon Ceremony in Bali. All the temples, even the smallest ones seemed like a hive with busy bees coming and going.

Full Moon Ceremony in Bali

We asked Made, the owner of our homestay what exactly was going on and she told us that the Full Moon Ceremony was due to happen only a few days later.

Purnama, the day of the full moon is a very special day for the Balinese people. It is considered to be a favorable day to plant things in the garden, especially fruit plants. Purnama helps to obtain an abundant harvest the following year.

We arrived just for the Purnama, which was not the one they celebrate every month, but a more important one with a deeper meaning, people simply seemed to be working harder than they would do for something they celebrate every month. Made told us that in April and in October the Full Moon Ceremony is held in a more intense way and we were lucky to enjoy it with all the preparations.

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Preparations for the Full Moon ceremony in Bali

In every corner of the island we saw people working hard to achieve that the day of the Full Moon Ceremony would be special and unforgettable. Women and children were preparing flower decorations, handicrafts and sweet cakes with rice.

Decoration full moon ceremony in Bali

Men were preparing a typical Balinese dish with pork meat. All these were destined to be offered to the Gods.

Men preparing the full moon ceremony in Bali

The temples were decorated with golden (yellow) fabrics and they cleaned the images representing the Gods and dress them properly for the event.

Temples in Bali prepared for the full moon ceremony in Bali

The three days before the full moon ceremony are about intensive work where all people have their task to be done in order to have everything perfectly ready for the celebration.

The Full Moon Ceremony in Bali

Normally people arrive at the temples in processions accompanied by music and they bring ther gifts to the temples during the final hours of the afternoon, when the sun already starts to go down and the temperature is more pleasant.

Women carry these offerings on top of their head and they place them in strategic points of the temples.

Temples with offers for the full moon ceremony in Bali

The gifts are blessed with holy water by the Pemangku (the priest). The pilgrims pray, ask for blessings and at the end of the ceremony they pick up the offerings and bring them home to share them with their family. During the full moon ceremony the Gods already take the essence from these gifts and they leave what “they don’t need” for the people.

full moon ceremony in Bali going on

In the temple of Pura Besakih, the biggest one on the island, parishioners stayed inside the temple to eat and celebrate with their friends and family. It was definitely an interesting scenery, we had never seen before a “party” like this inside a religious building.

The day was also the perfect occasion for weddings, and we saw several of them.

Brides in Pura Besakih temple during the full moon ceremony

It was a real privilege to attend the festival of the Full Moon Ceremony, something so important of the Balinese culture.

Looking for more information about the island? Check out our post about what to do in Bali with the nicest temples and rice fields on the island.

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