Following the lunar calendar, Shivaratri falls on the darkest night of the month. This is when moon is barely visible to our naked eyes. The Shivaratri festival, the Night of Shiva, celebrated in Bali on January 14 this year, is a reminder of this fact: there can be no light without darkness. Shiva, usually, and quoted mistakenly, portrayed as the god of destruction, is actually the Recycler. Shiva is the symbol of creation, new beginning, and the proclamation of the coming dawn.
-Celebrating Darkness by Anand Krishna
Our society focuses on celebrating the light more often than embracing the darkness. God is likened to light and deemed the Lucent, the Luminous, and the Radiant One. Darkness, on the other hand, has always been associated with devil, with negative power.
Yet, darkness and light are inseparable dualistic fractals of the big picture - our universe. They are balanced both in the outside world, and in the deepest seeds of our being.
The Balinese worship darkness equally as they do light because they understand that the two are complementary. Without the opposing force of darkness, we would have no awareness of the brilliance of light. Darkness is the void in which light manifests. Darkness is the rich canvass on which the flecks of light are so beautifully painted. The Balinese have been celebrating darkness for ages, for as far back in time as their history is. Darkness, to the Balinese, is not something to be dreaded.