Princess Mirah welcomed the quilters on the ninth day of the ninth month of the ninth year. There must have been something magical in the air, or a special chemistry between the quilters and the princess, because never have there been seen so many smiles at the palace.
Princess Mirah took time to speak of the history of the palace and the King, her grandfather, showing that Maskerdam, the inner courtyard of the palace, was the living room of the last King of Karangasem, the Raja di Raja of Bali. Still Puri Karangasem is the living ceremonial heart for the royal family of Karangasem, where each pavilion is devoted to a stage in the life of the royal family: birth, rite of passage (tooth-filing ceremony), wedding and even cremation.
There is also a shrine in the east dedicated to Nirartha, the founding father of Balinese Hinduism, and since this was the holy day of Buddha Wage, a day where the gods are more likely than not to show their grace, the quilters were invited to take part in a purification ceremony. The officiating Shiva priest blessed the quilters with holy water three times three times, before the Kalpika headband that connects each person to her soul’s guardian was tied.
Again there were smiles all around. In between the smiles Princess Mirah found time to invite the quilters to a Balinese feast, and there was a refined Balinese dance performed by Princess Mirah’s nieces and nephews, a Gebug war dance that honors the war between the Kingdoms of Karangasem and Lombok, and there was a chance for the quilters to pick out their favorite Princess Mirah batiks.
Towards the afternoon, the quilters realized, being at the Palace itself, they could not go home without Princess Mirah’s signature, on books and quilts. And to round off a very special day, the quilters gathered in front of the Nirartha shrine to commemorate a very special visit with a photo. And in the eyes of the quilters, you can see that special glimpse, that sometimes you truly feel blessed.