Purnama & Tilem (Full & New Moon)

Purnama & Tilem (Full & New Moon)

‘Purnama’, the day of a ‘full moon’ & ‘Tilem’, the day of a ‘new moon’, are special days for the Balinese. On this day extra offerings are made around the family compound, as well as some offerings placed on the ground at the entrance to the house compound.

The towering ‘sesajen’ offerings are also often taken to the village temple. Depending on the time of year, many temples then hold various forms of entertainment for the village – dancing, wayang puppet performances, arja plays – to coincide with the special prayers for Purnama or Tilem.

It is considered a good day for planting on Purnama, especially for plants that bear fruit. So very often people will delay planting until the day of the full moon, when they are more assured of successful harvest.

Some people believe that to bathe in water perfumed by the fragrant petals of the frangipani flower under the light of the full moon will wash away your sins, while ensuring that you will remain youthfully attractive.

Very often an ‘odalan’ (anniversary ceremony) at a village temple that includes a day that happens to correspond with Tilem falling on the same day as ‘kajeng kliwon’ will see them organizing a performance of ‘Calonarang’, depicting a struggle between the powers of the Barong and Rangda, an exorcism of the village to ensure the continuance of harmony and balance. Of course the biggest of all of these exorcisms occurs on the 12th Tilem of the Saka Calendar year, where the whole of Bali carries out an exorcism on the eve of ‘Nyepi’ (Balinese New Year).