Melepas Matahari: Celebrating Diversity and Unity in Bali

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Melepas Matahari, meaning “releasing the sun,” is an annual cultural extravaganza that takes place on December 31st in Denpasar, Bali. This event, initiated in 2009 as part of the Denpasar Festival, symbolizes gratitude for the past year’s accomplishments while fostering hope and optimism for the upcoming one. The vibrant celebration brings together hundreds of artists and children from diverse cultural groups, showcasing traditional dances, music, and religious prayers, creating a colorful spectacle in the heart of Denpasar.

History of Melepas Matahari

Melepas Matahari: Celebrating Diversity and Unity in Bali
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Melepas Matahari originated in 2009 under the auspices of the Denpasar City Government and the Bali Cultural Office. Initially conceived as part of the Denpasar Festival, it draws inspiration from Balinese Hindu traditions of offering prayers and gratitude to the sun god, Surya, at the year’s end. Beyond its religious roots, Melepas Matahari serves a broader purpose: preserving and developing local arts and culture while fostering harmony and tolerance among people of various faiths and backgrounds.

Fun Fact of the Show

Melepas Matahari: Celebrating Diversity and Unity in Bali
Melepas Matahari: Celebrating Diversity and Unity in Bali 4

Melepas Matahari is an annual cultural event in Denpasar, Bali, that celebrates the end of the year with artistic performances and entertainment. It has been held since 2010, but it was suspended in 2021 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the changes that Melepas Matahari has undergone over the years are:

  1. The number of participants and spectators has increased, from about 200 artists and 5,000 visitors in 20102 to more than 400 artists and 10,000 visitors in 2020.
  2. The theme and concept of the event has varied, reflecting the social and cultural issues of the time. For example, in 2017, the theme was “Denpasar Berdaulat” (Denpasar Sovereign), which highlighted the city’s autonomy and identity. In 2020, the theme was “Mabesikan” (Respecting Diversity), which emphasized the harmony and unity of Denpasar’s multicultural society.
  3. The venue and format of the event has also changed, depending on the availability and suitability of the location. In 2010, the event was held at the Bajra Sandhi Monument, which is a historical landmark in Denpasar. In 2020, the event was held at the Catur Muka Statue, which is the zero point of Denpasar. The event usually consists of a main stage performance, followed by a street carnival and a fireworks show.

Can foreigners/tourist join the Melepas Matahari event?

Foreigners or tourists can join the Melepas Matahari event. It is a public and free event that welcomes anyone who wants to enjoy the cultural performances and entertainment in Denpasar. Foreigners can also participate in the prayer session and the dove release, as long as they respect the local customs and beliefs.

Melepas Matahari is a great opportunity for foreigners to learn more about Bali’s rich and diverse culture, and to celebrate the new year with the local people. 🎊


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