What is Banyupinaruh?
The day after Saraswati is called Banyupinaruh, which always falls on a Sunday and the first Pawukon week, Dasa Sinta. As with many Balinese ceremonials days, Banyupinaruh comes around every seven calendar months (the Balinese will say six, because they mean six Balinese Çaka calendar months). To find out when it occurs each year, you will need to ask a Balinese or refer to a current Balinese calendar.
On Banyupinaruh, Hindu devotees get up very early on this day to bathe at dawn. For those who live close to the beach, they’ll choose to make a pilgrimage to the sea; others will go to rivers or similar watering places.
Most people pray or at least place offerings on the beach before bathing or swimming. Offerings are normally simple canang sari box offerings made of palm leaf, packed with colourful flowers and completed with an incense stick spiked in the sand.
After praying, they enter the water in their clothes or in a sarong wrapped around their bodies (You won’t see many Balinese in bikinis!). They then cleanse and purify their bodies with the water to purge negative emotions.
After bathing, people return home, change into clean traditional dress and pray.
These days, since most people have bathrooms in their houses, many just bathe at home in water and fragrant flowers (yeh kumkuman) whilst reciting a prayer or mantra, then put on traditional dress and pray in their family temple (sanggah).
Balinese say that compared with just taking a regular bath or shower, bathing on this holy day makes them feel refreshed and revitalised.
On Banyupinaruh, beaches across Bali are packed with families-everyone from infants to the elderly; and whilst it’s not an ideal day for sunbathing (finding a spot is tricky!), swimming or other watersports for tourists, you are blessed with some wonderful photo opportunities.
© 2010 Vaughan Hatch