During our visit to Ubud, Sana invited Caroline, Reena and I to attend his Hindu temple’s religious festival. We were honored to take part in the three nights of praying and celebrations.
Sana’s wife dressed the three of us in traditional clothing and we joined them across the street at the temple. It seemed like hundreds of other people were coming to the festival as well. There were so many people that they overflowed to the streets! Rows and rows of people sat on the asphalt in the dark of night waiting for the priest to bless them.
Personally, I’ve never been to a Hindu ceremony and don’t know much about the religion itself so it was interesting, yet very confusing, for me to join in on these celebrations. Sana’s English isn’t very fluent and I had a really difficult time understanding what he said. If he tried to tell us about the ceremony and the blessings, then I missed the explanation completely. In the end, I tried to copy the actions of everyone around me and hoped I didn’t do anything disrespectful along the way.
Even though I couldn’t understand the words being said, I very much felt a part of the group. When the prayers were over, several members of the community approached Sana and were curious to find out about us. It was nice to speak with locals on such a personal level and a contrast to our normal interactions that focus on tourist activities. During these three nights, we were part of the community and not foreigners, and I was happy and very appreciative of this experience.