Nyepi or quiet Day in Bali
Nyepi is a balinese-hindu celebration (to celebrate new Caka year, a hindu calendar). However, everybody in bali, of all religions, do respect the nyepi day. Everybody participate in a way by not breaking the silence.
On Nyepi day itself, every street is quiet – there are nobody doing their normal daily activities. There is usually Pecalangs (traditional Balinese security man) who controls and checks for street security. Pecalang wear a black uniform and a Udeng or Destar (a Balinese traditional “hat” that is usually used in ceremony). The Pecalangs main task is not only to control the security of the street but also to stop any activities that disturb Nyepi.
No traffic is allowed, not only cars but also people, who have to stay in their own houses. Light is kept to a minimum or not at all, the radio or TV is turned down and, of course, no one works. Even love making, this ultimate activity of all leisure times, is not supposed to take place, nor even attempted.
The whole day is simply filled with the barking of a few dogs, the shrill of insect and is a simple long quiet day in the calendar of this otherwise hectic island.
Nyepi Day is a day of silence, fasting, and meditation. The day following Nyepi is also celebrated as New year Gudi Padva in Maharashtra and Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in India.
In regard with this celebration, it is strictly prohibited to conduct the following activities :
- No light may be lit
- No work may be done
- No travel may be carried out and
- No amusement may be made
During Nyepi Day, all entry to Bali via air and sea ports will be closed. Customary dispensations which is issued by the traditional villages, will be given to those carrying the sick, women giving birth to a child or to those who are in a hazardous condition
One day before the Nyepi day is called Pengrupukan day. Family member will walking around their compound bringing fire torch and make a lot of noise by kulkul (traditional bamboo bell).
For village level, villagers will also held a procession with the fire torch and kulkul. Since 1980 this procession also include procession of Ogoh-Ogoh, a giant monster doll, in the form of demon characters as symbol of evil (bhuta). The doll mainly made of bamboo and cement sacks. Before the procession, a ceremony is perform to invite spirits occupy the Ogoh-Ogoh and after the procession another ceremony is held to neutralize the spirits by symbolically burn or actually burn the Ogoh-ogoh.
This spirit is believed as spirit of evil (bhuta) that may become the disturbance for human and the universe and they will be always part of human and universe. The purpose of the overall ceremony that held on this day are to neutralize the bad force / spirit (bhuta) so it is not any longer becomes disturbance but instead become positive force for the good of human and universe.
Ngembak Geni (the day after Nyepi)
After Nyepi day our called Ngembak is the day when Catur Berata Penyepian is over and Hindus societies usually visit to forgive each other and doing the Dharma Canthi. Dharma Canthi are activities of reading Sloka, Kekidung, Kekawin, etc.(ancient scripts containing songs and lyrics).
From the religious and philosophy point of view, Nyepi is meant to be a day of self introspection to decide on values, eg humanity, love, patience, kindness, etc., that should kept forever. Balinese Hindus have many kind of celebrations (some sacred days) but Nyepi is, perhaps the most important of the island’s religious days and the prohibitions are taken seriously, particularly in villages outside of Bali’s southern tourist belt.
Hotels are exempt from Nyepi’s rigorous practices but streets outside will be closed to both pedestrians and vehicles (except for airport shuttles or emergency vehicles) and village wardens (Pecalang) will be posted to keep people off the beach. So wherever you happen to be staying on Nyepi Day in Bali, this will be a good day to spend indoors. Indeed Nyepi day has made Bali a unique island.