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February 10th, 2010
(HPI notes: Sivaratri was celebrated in Bali on January 14th, 2010, but it will be celebrated in most places tomorrow. For more information, see the two articles below.)
BALI, January 14, 2010: Tonight, on the seventh month’s fourteenth day of waxing moon, Balinese celebrate Sivaratri or the Night of Siva. Balinese believes that on this day, God Siva meditates for the welfare of the world, and He bestows a pardon for all sin to someone if he accompanies Him in His meditation by observing some self restriction on the night of Sivaratri.
The vrata (self-restriction) of Sivaratri includes Jagra (staying awake all night long), Upawasa (fasting), and Monabrata (silence). There are three major level of self- restriction, Balinese can choose a level of self-restriction according to his capability.
The celebrations of Sivaratri light up the night all over Bali. On this night, temples are full with their congregations. They stay awake all night long, recite prayers or old religious stories, and fight sleepy eyes as hard as possible. Then, Balinese devotees traditionally flock to the beach to take a purification ceremony simply by praying on the beach and taking a quick bath in the chill seawater.