The majority of Indonesia’s Hindu population resides in Bali. This destination, which is rich in natural resources, has very strong traditional, cultural and religious values. Nyepi Day, one of the holy days in Bali, is a moment that is highly anticipated every year.
During the Nyepi celebration, life in Bali will be very quiet and quiet for the whole day. Daily activities that usually take place will be limited, except at vital facilities such as hospitals. So there are no crowds or sparkling city lights that illuminate the nighttime atmosphere in Bali.
What is Nyepi Day?
Nyepi Day is a major Hindu holiday which is celebrated at the turn of every Saka year. Before the peak of the celebration, a series of traditional ceremonies are usually held with the aim of ensuring that Nyepi can run smoothly.
When does Nyepi Day take place?
Different from the New Year in general which falls in the first month, Nyepi actually falls in the first month or tenth month, to be precise the day after the ninth new moon which usually occurs in March or April of the Gregorian calendar. Hindus believe that this first day is seen as a clean day to start a new chapter in life at the beginning of the Saka year. For the smooth running of Nyepi, access to and from Bali via air, sea and land routes will be closed for 24 hours. Make sure you check the latest schedule regarding flights and access in and out of Bali ahead of Nyepi Day!
What are the series of customs during Nyepi Day in Bali?
This series of traditional ceremonies consists of several parts, the first is the Melasti ceremony or Melis ceremony which is held on Sasih Sanga. The ceremony is carried out to purify the pratima, ceremonial facilities and equipment by parading it to the sea, lake or river. Pratima is a symbol of God/Bhatara which is used as a tool to worship Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa (the name of God Almighty for Hindus).
Then it continues with the Pengrupukan ceremony which is also known by other names the Tawur Kesanga or Tawur Agung ceremony. This ceremony functions to maintain the balance of the universe and humans from disturbances from bhuta kala, which is the name for an evil creature with a scary face, and appears as a seductive creature. At the Pengrupukan ceremony, Hindus in Bali will give caru offerings and are usually accompanied by an ogoh-ogoh procession which is a symbol of bhuta kala. The procession is held at night and ends with the burning of ogoh-ogoh as a symbol that negative forces have been neutralized.
After the sun rises on the eastern horizon, Hindus celebrate Nyepi Day. When celebrating Nyepi, Hindus in Bali learn to control themselves by not traveling, not doing activities/work, not doing activities that could pollute the body or enjoying various entertainments, and not lighting fires or lamps which is usually called Catur Bratha Penyepian.
After 24 hours of implementing Catur Bratha Penyepian, Nyepi Day is then closed by Ngembak Geni Day, which means freedom to light the fire. Usually, Hindus also visit each other’s family and friends, so they can forgive each other for all mistakes and mistakes they have made before.
Are there any special rules that must be obeyed?
During Nyepi celebrations, Hindus are prohibited from carrying out any activities, except in emergency situations. This aims to create a quiet atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of life. Nyepi implementation in Bali takes place from 06.00 WITA until 06.00 the next day. On Nyepi Day, the atmosphere in Bali is quiet all day long, and at night it is pitch black. Some things that must be obeyed during Nyepi Day include:
- Amati geni, that is, do not light fires or lamps and do not indulge/inflame lust.
- Amati karya, that is, do not do physical work/activity, do not have sexual intercourse, but diligently carry out spiritual purification.
- Amati lelungan, that is, don’t travel anywhere, but always stay introspective at home and concentrate your thoughts before God.
- Amati lelanguan, namely not holding entertainment/recreation or having fun, including not eating and not drinking.
As a form of tolerance towards Hindus celebrating Nyepi, tourists and other religious people are also encouraged to respect the rules that have been set, such as not disturbing the sanctity of Nyepi Day by making noise and violating order.