Posted on 26 Mar 2014
Nyepi day in Bali is coming soon, exactly on 31 March 2014. No one place in the world except Bali, where have a very unique ceremonial tradition to celebrate their own new year. Related to the tradition and belief, Balinese Hindus celebrate their religious New Year based on Saka Year. This Saka Year is very well-known in India and culturally involved into Balinese belief. To open the Hindus Saka New Year, all Balinese Hindus has the unique tradition by doing a silence for 24 hours. This tradition is named “Nyepi Day” or can be said “A Silent Day”. It means to create a silence atmosphere; they must do nothing in that day.
In Nyepi Day, Balinese Hindus are not allowed to do some activity. They believe about a religious term named Catur Brata Penyepian. This Catur Brata Penyepian means four warnings about what they should not do during Nyepi. Those four warnings are Balinese do not go to work, they are not allowed to travel, not allowed to turn on the light or fire, and not allowed to have some entertainment or having some party in their house. All of those warnings give a space for Balinese to have a kind of serenity and contemplation of their self. Nyepi Day also brings the positive impact to keep balance of our nature. This day give a break for nature from any human routine.
Talking about Nyepi, this day can be said a religious New Year day that based on Saka Year. To open the Hindus Saka New Year, all Balinese Hindus has the unique tradition by doing silence for 24 hours. Based on the old story, The King of India, King Kaniska I was famous for his wisdom and tolerance for the Hinduism and Buddhism societies. In that age, Aji Saka did Dharma Yatra: kind of the missionary tour to promote and spread Hinduism) to Indonesia and introduce the Saka year. The philosophy of Nyepi Day has essential meaning in keeping the balance of our nature. This day give a break for nature from any human routine.
Nyepi Day is about in giving back all human being into his or her holiness. Before the day, a series of religious ritual is held to purify human and universe from the negative energy. First of all, there is a ritual named “Melasti”, where Hindus come to the Beach to pray and purify themselves. At last, a Nyepi Eve usually called “Malam Pengrupukan” is held to dispel all evil energy in human and nature. To complete this Eve, there is a parade of Ogoh-ogoh with the giant statue that representing an evil spirit. Balinese will parade this ogoh-ogoh to around the village. Thus, ogoh-ogoh will be burned as symbolize to dispel all negative energy and evil from nature and us.
Even you are not Balinese, you need to respect about their belief by not going out from hotel or your homestay. Please to keep yourself comfortable for 24 hours only to stay at your hotel. Don not worry about services, hotel management will still give all you need in hotel.
Limitation of Activity Area
If you stay in a Hotel which is located inside the town, usually you will still allowed to engage in activities outside the hotel room. Type of activities is limited and does not include activities that can cause noises. But if you stay in an area that tends to be closer to local residence, such as villages in Ubud, then you are only allowed to move in the room.
Restrictions of lights and electronic equipment
During the day, tourists are allowed to turn on the lights and electronic equipment in the hotel room. Usually there is no TV broadcast. If you want to watch a DVD or play on some music, make sure that the sound does not disturb others. At night the hotel guests are not allowed to turn on the lights, candles, or other lighting.
Besides not allowed going out of the hotel to buy food, all business activities including restaurant also practically stopped operating. Do not worry, the hotels are usually still providing breakfast for the guests. For dinner, hotel will usually advise its guests to order room service.
What to Do?
Many hotel or holiday villa offer a variety of special Nyepi packages which usually consists of a variety activities to enjoy relaxation facilities such as spa, sauna, yoga, and massage. Some of them are usually offered in a low price. Other options, you can do some activities that can be done inside the room, and free from electronic equipment. For example, reading a book or meditating. A short break from mundane activities and participate fused with the silence of Nyepi.
Anyway, the other interesting things of Nyepi in Bali is to watch some religious rituals which is usually held few days before Nyepi. There are at least three common Balinese Hindus rituals such as Melasti that aims to cleanse sacred objects into the sea, lake, or springs. This ritual will held for several days before Nyepi, carrying offerings and sacred tools, accompanied by traditional music of Gamelan Bali.
The second ritual is Tawur Agung Kesanga Ceremony, a holy sacrifice to neutralize the evil spirits so as not to interfere with human life. The ceremony is usually done during the day and then followed by parading ogoh -ogoh, huge doll as a symbol of evil spirits, at night. Tourist can watch the Ogoh-ogoh parade carried out around 19:00 pm. Every banjar (part of village) will show their ogoh-ogoh.
by Duwi Mertiana