Bali Tourism Directory-header APRIL 2020

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Nyepi Day in Bali

By I Nengah Subadra, PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Bali, 26 March 2017


On 14 March 2021 Hindus in Bali are celebrating NYEPI - the day of silence. This is the second time of Nyepi ritual in pandemic. Amati Lelungaan (No Travel) is one of the four prohibition practised on Nyepi day. This serves as one of the regional lockdown as all ports to Bali island are closed for 24 hours.


Last year Hindus in Bali are to celebrate Nyepi on Wednesday, 25 March 2020. This coincides with the COVID-19 SELF-QUARANTINE period which has been applied in Bali since a week ago. This Nyepi will be very special as it is followed by all people in the world which infected by Coronavirus. May God heal the universe!


On this Nyepi Day, some related rituals to Nyepi celebration were cancelled due to Coronavirus. Melasti or purification rites were done without involving many people. And the Ogoh-Ogoh parade also cancelled for safety and healty reason. Again, this Nyepi celebration is totally different with the earlier ones.


Nyepi's meaning and purpose is to make sacrifice to pray for the universe, the world achieves peace. In reality, it's expensive, hard to realize.


Personal conflicts, which give a rise to hawkish due to the contradiction between desire and social norms, religious norms. Conflicts in households have peace due to conflicts of interest, disagreements between family members. Conflict in the community can arise due to differences, as well as the life of a country.



Nyepi (the Day of Silence) to Hindus in Bali has become an integral part of thier tradition that has been practised by Balinese people living across the island for centuries.


Nyepi Day is actually the new year of Caka - a Balinese Calender adapted from India that consists of 30 days each month which welcomed with a full day of silence. There are a sets of rituals in relation to this particular Hindu's Great Day. Please read the detailed sequences to understand how important Nyepi Day to Hindus in Bali.




Sequences of Nyepi Day Celebration




Nyepi day is started with a Melasti Rite which normally conducted two or three days prior to the Nyepi Day. Melasti is mainly aimed at purification for human body and soul and also sacred goods of Hindus that symbolises the manifestation of the almighty God "Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa".


On Melasti days, millions of Hindus will go to the nearest water sources to do purification rite. Hindus residing near by the coastal zones will prefer to commit purification rituals along the beach. Meanwhile for those who live away from the sea shore, they will most likely to do it in the lakes or rivers.



 Hindus purifying sacred goods to beach


The Melasti ritual begin when the sacred goods of Hindus set into the designated place near by the sea or lake where a number of offering made from young coconut leaves, flowers, fruit and cakes are also seated around the holy stuffs.


The Hindu priests begin to lead the rite which followed by live performance of traditional Balinese Gamelan which make the rite sounds very religiously. It takes about two hours for the priests to conduct the rite; which then continued with mass prayers participated by villagers attending the rite.



 Sacred goods to be  purified at the beach


To Hindus in Bali, water can symbolicly clense impurity may exist within the human bodies. Worshippers will take some holi water home to purify their sacred belongings at home and also to purify the housing compunds that might have been tainted or infected by negative spirits that liable to bother the occupants.



 Sacred goods of Pratima - the symbol of God being purified


On Melasti days will be the best day for tourists to gaze at authentic cultural attractions: rituals, dances, parades and Balinese Gamelan which set naturally without being purposely prepared or staged for tourists. Please do wear polite dress while gathering with Hindu worshippers to show your respect to local Balinese people practising thier belief.   


Some villages in Bali will commit Melasti rituals three days before the Nyepi day, but some villages may also conduct Melasti two days before the Nyepi day. This realy depends on the agreement made by the local or traditional village  authorities who set up the dates.




Pangerupukan day falls a day before Nyepi day. This is the time for Hindus in Bali commiting a Tawur Agung ceremony that normally taking place in big crossroad or commonly known as "Perepatan Agung" which is aimed at balancing the universe by serving some offerings to the lower level lives which in Bali known as Bhuta Kala who possesses negative spirits that libale to bother the Hindus applying thier beliefs during the Nyepi Day. 



Ogoh-Ogoh : the symbol of devil spirits 


Currently, the rite of Pangerupukan is followed with parades of Ogoh-Ogoh - giant statues that symbolise the evel spirits that manifestated into thousands of different faces and characters. The Ogoh-Ogoh parades usually started on the dusk time when the sun just goes down until about 11 or 12 o'clock mid night.



One of Ogoh-Ogoh in Denpasar of 2019 


Teenagers carry on thier Ogoh-Ogoh around their villages, then they gather in big junctions to perform their actions with other youth organizations which accompanied with traditional Balinese Gamelan to make the "show" more interesting.




This is also the best time for the tourists to see the real cultural Balinese show that can be seen almost every corner of the villages in Bali. Please never miss this annual cultural event! Surely, watching Ogoh-Ogoh parades will become one of your most holiday experiences on the island of Paradise - BALI.




Penyepian / "NYEPI"


Nyepi Day is the peak day of Caka New Year which this year falls on 25 March 2020The celebration of Nyepi Day might be the most unique rite over the world as it is not showing off glamorous things at all during the day; conversely, practising “Tapa Berata” the four prohibitions which shall be obeyed by Hindus including Amati Geni (no fire), Amati Karya (no work), Amati Lelungaan (no travel) and Amati Lelangunan (no entertainment).


The practice of these four prohibitions makes the island of Bali just like an uninhabited land on the globe: everywhere is silent, no vehicle and traffic on the street and no light at all; and even, the international airport of Ngurah Rai and also all harbours on the island are totally closed for 24 hours between 6 a.m. and 6 a.m. This is the only island on the planet practising silent day which truly supports the global warming programme. 


Nyepi Day allows the earth to rest for the entire day from 6 am in the morning until the following day. This might be very interesting for the tourists experiencing this most unique cultural event which may not be seen elsewhere in the universe.


What is actually the significance of Nyepi Day? As seen from the four prohibitions applied, it is simply aimed at controlling the human mind. On normal day, the unlimited mind of the human flies anywhere and anytime during the day thinking everything they need and the want during their lives which sometimes makes them crazy or forget about their limitations as human being. They just want everything for themselves and ignoring others.


These have factually caused many people get stressed, never happy and even never have any peace on their minds due to their ambitions to reach their wants. So, on Nyepi Day, Hindus in Bali are taking a rest together to have self-reflections on their own lives.




Ngembak Geni


The the after Nyepi si called "Ngembak Geni" which simply means opening the new fire which symbolises power or energy of our life. The new spirits of the new year expected to bring new life for the people living on the island to have a better future and more prosperity lives.


On Ngembak Geni Day, Balinese people usually go to the nearest beach for another self-purification to have a totally pure mind starting the Hindu Balinese New year.


Have a great and wonderful new year!  






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