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August 15th, 2011 | Asia

The Bike Blessing Ceremony…

Dressed for the occasipn...!! Patricia and I prepare for the ceremony...

With the date that I would be leaving Bali now finalized, Patricia was able to make the arrangements for the bike blessing ceremony which she had been wanting to have done for some time now…

The Big Fella gets dressed up too...!! Decorated with hand-woven offerings...

Nyoman, our landlord’s wife, very kindly offered to officiate in the ceremony, and at the appointed time arrived with the many baskets of fruit, and other offerings and adornments required for the proper blessing to take place…

Dressed in our sarongs and with me wearing the traditional Balinese Udeng headgear, Patricia, Agung and I walked down to where I had put the Big Fella on his centre stand (after a quick scrub down…!!) and watched as Nyoman began preparing for the blessing ceremony…

First she placed a woven mat in front of the bike, then began hanging various woven decorations on the windshield and tied a few smaller ones to the mirror stems…

A white and then a yellow cloth was placed over the tank to act as the “clothing” for the bike… She explained as she did this that in Balinese culture, everything has a soul, and a soul should be “dressed” for a ceremony, just as a people are…

Draped in a "sarong" of his own...

I had to agree with her on that one… The Big Fella certainly has “soul” and has most definitely taken on the persona of a living, breathing entity for me, and if ever there was an inanimate object that I related to fully, then this bike was it…!!

Agung assisted with the preparations...

The offerings for the ceremony were laid out in front of the bike...

Baskets of fruit and smaller woven containers filled with colourful flower petals were then placed on the mat in front of the bike… Agung helped place burning incense sticks in each of the baskets and on a few places on the bike itself…

My helmet was placed on the top-box, facing the setting sun… The bike should have been facing the sun too, but the slope on which it was parked, and the fact that it was already loaded down with its panniers and other gear, made this impossible…

While Nyoman and Agung set everything out in preparation for the blessing, scooters buzzed by on the narrow lane where the Big Fella was parked… Locals and tourists alike stopped to watch the proceeding and mumbled words of encouragement…

Two Russian bikers who I had befriended earlier in the day, also stopped to watch and take some photos… A small group of our friends from Como arrived and swelled the small crowd that gathered around us…

Nyoman then sprinkled water which she had earlier blessed, over the offerings and then over the bike itself… The water was held in small dishes, and made fragrant by Jepun petals that floated in it…

Nyoman began by sprinkling the Big Fella with water...

Kneeling in front of the bike, we begin with our prayers...

Then it was our turn…

Kneeling down on the mat, Patricia and I prepared to receive our own blessings and to make the traditional Balinese prayers required to give thanks and bring safety and good health to us all…

We were first sprinkled with water, and then using a small container soaked in the water, Nyoman touched it first to our crowns, then our shoulders, our chests, and our hands in turn…

Then she knelt down behind us and coached us through the ritual prayers of the blessing ceremony…

We drew smoke from the burning incense over us, then “washed” our hands with some of the petals, before bringing them together in the attitude of prayer, and with thumbs touching our foreheads, we began the series of prayers to ask the Gods to watch over us, and of course the bike to which this ceremony after all, was being dedicated…

I snuck in a few prayers for my parents and sister, for my children and all my friends too… So you’re all covered guys…!!

We dipped our fingers in the water, and touched our heads with it, then wiped our faces with it, and finally, touched it to our lips…

Despite the hubbub and chatter of people passing around me, I felt a calmness and peacefulness wash over me, and a small smile play over my face…

The girl with the flowers in her hair...

I felt my pupils dilate as I stared at the front of my bike, remembering the places we had been through together, and praying that we would continue to share in the good fortune that we had already been blessed with over the last eighteen months, and had carried us halfway around the world…

I glanced over at Patricia and thought that there was nobody else in the world right then that I would rather be sharing this moment with…

Felt my heart swell at the sight of her, eyes closed and hands lifted in solemn prayer…

I quickly gave another quick prayer of thanks to all the Gods that had seen fit to bring her into my life and placed all my wishes for our future, firmly in their hands…

Finally, after all our prayers had been made, Nyoman placed a large basket of fruit on the Big Fella’s saddle, put a few smaller woven dishes containing flower petals and burning incense sticks on either side of the bike, she instructed me to leave everything as it was until after the sun had gone down…

Patricia led our group of friends back to villa for a few drinks and some snacks, while I stood chatting to Nyoman and thanking her profusely for the lengths she had gone to, to make this a special occasion for the Big Fella, Patricia and I…

I presented her with a gift of the extra bike cover I had been carrying, for her scooter… One that Willi had given to me in Laos as a parting gift, but I had found was far too small to cover the Big Fella when he was fully loaded…

Thanks anyway, Willi, but believe that your cover has found a good and deserving home in Ubud, Bali…!!

Nyoman, Ketut's wife, who made this wonderful and very special ceremony a reality...

I walked around the bike then, running my hands over the saddle and tank, re-arranging the white and yellow clothes that adorned it, and were beginning to slip off in the light wind that was blowing… I tucked them firmly under the saddle, as Nyoman said I should only remove them once I was ready to ride…

Small offerings were placed on the bike, to remain there until we were underway...

She also said that I should leave all the woven decorations on the bike, and allow them to fall off on their own accord… Then she went to sit quietly on a step nearby, sensing I think that this was an emotional time for me… She sat watching as I spent some “quality time” with the Big Fella…

From the balcony of Made's Warung, I took this final photo before joining our friends at the villa...

I slowly ran my eyes from windshield to number plate and then holding his handlebars lightly, I quietly whispered,

“Tomorrow it’s just you and me again, Buddy… The other half of the world is waiting… You ready…??”

“About time…!! And I most surely am…!!”, I thought I heard him reply… “But are you…??”

©GBWT 2011

1 comment to The Bike Blessing Ceremony…

  • Mark Behr

    “Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.”

    As you prepare to move on, know that God has an incredible plan for your life; one to see you prosper and all He asks is that you ask Him to share His plan with you. We worship a living God and He loves you in every way.

    Blessings to both you and Patti as you seek His plan for your future.

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