ISKCON Cida Dahi Festival – Bali 2019
By Gadadhar das
On the 12th of May 2019, devotees in Bali, Indonesia headed by Jagannath Gauranga Ashram organized the annual Cida-dahi festival. The day before the festival was the bi-annual Balinese festival; Sarasvati Puja. The following day, which coincided with the Cida-dahi festival was where the locals take their purificatory bath and conduct various rituals. The festival took place at the famous Merta Sari beach. Preparation started the day before the festival with devotees setting up and decorating the pandal at the beach throughout the night. Other devotees also prepared the 25kg chipped rice Prasad.
‘These public festivals have proven very effective in spreading Krishna Consciousness to all citizens.’
On the 12th morning devotees were ready at 6.30am at the beach where most of the locals were taking their holy bath. The devotees seized this opportunity to spread the glories of the Lord by Harinam Sankirtan and book distribution. Local and devotees from other parts of the world were also equipped with 10kg chipped rice to distribute to the public. The onlookers were amazed at the wonderful taste of the Prasad and wanted more. In no time the 10kg was over! Respectable persons including the Head of Hindu Bali Parisad and the Vice Governor of Bali also honored some Prasad and appreciated the devotee’s efforts.
‘We are finding these festivals very successful for attracting the citizens to our activities. More and more these festivals may be held, at least very large festival in a year, simply for glorifying Krishna in public places.’
Festivities began in the afternoon at 2pm with melodious kirtan and bhajans. As the tradition goes, the Gour Nitai deities from temples across Bali were taken in beautiful palanquins and were bathed in the sea. Locals and tourists were struck with wonder at the scene! The deities were taken back to the altar and a stunning Abhishek ceremony took place. Before class, Maharaj along with devotees mixed nine large pots of chipped rice with milk, condensed milk, yogurt and a variety of fruits. HH Subhag Swami then delivered an interesting class on the meeting of Raghunath das Goswami and Caitanya Mahaprabhu. His Holiness then offered an arati ceremony to the Gour Nitai deities whilst ecstatic kirtan was lead. Meanwhile, many devotees participate in book distribution to the public. Nearly 200 copies of Srila Prabhupada book were distributed, big and small book.
Prasad was served to all devotees and it was clearly visible on the devotee’s faces that they were in bliss.
We would like to show our gratitude top all the wonderful devotees who came forward to help in different ways to organize this festival. Special thanks to the devotees who stayed up the whole of Saturday night to prepare the prasadam and set up the pandal. Our gratitude to Jagannath Gauranga Ashram who took charge of the festival this year. We would like to thank HH Kavicandra Swami and HH Ramai Swami, the GBC’s of Indonesia for their continuous support. We would also like to thank HH Subhag Swami for encouraging the devotees to carry on with different aspects of Sankirtan and thus remain close to Srila Prabhupada.