To relax the body after a hard day’s work (or traveling), usually we end the night with a nice warm bubble bath. But the local tradition here has a different ritual: instead of bubbles, it’s flower petals.
Flower bath (mandi kembang) is popular amongst women across Java, not excluding Bali, and you might think that it’s an entirely feminine concept: a beauty ritual that infuses fragrant flowers into the mix. But here the flower bath is meant to purify the body, cleanse the aura, and bring in positive energy. As preparation for their wedding, brides will take a flower bath to purify their body and soul before entering holy matrimony with their significant others. Some culture dictates that the bath is done at 12am on a full moon or on special dates on their calendar. Western bath often primarily uses the romantic red rose petals but the local mandi kembang incorporates six other type of flowers: white rose, yellow and white champak (cempaka), jasmine, ylang-ylang, and tuberose (sedap malam).
Each of the flowers, once the uplifting and fragrant aroma has been extracted, has naturally nerve-calming property, and especially for ylang-ylang (abundant here in Bali), its essential oils has the further benefit of, among others, increasing blood flow and relieving inflammation. If you wish to do a flower bath, do it local style: sprinkle the flowers in a bucket of water then put them under the sun for 3 to 4 hours to best extract the fragrance and properties of the flowers. At night, a relaxing bath awaits!