Nyepi: the Day of Silence
Nyepi is known as “Silence Day”, it is commemorated every Saka/new year according to the Balinese calendar. It is a Hindu festival mainly celebrated in Bali, Indonesia. On this day, the entire island goes into reflection and meditation. From sunrise to sunrise, all daily activities in Bali will come to a halt. Nyepi is also known as Balinese New Year’s Eve. The following day after Nyepi is celebrated as Balinese New Year.
Nyepi is celebrated by doing the fasting day of Catur Brata Penyepian (the Four Prohibitions in Quietness) such as:
- Amati Geni which means No Fire (not lighting any light nor fire)
- Amati Karya which means No Work (not doing any activity nor works)
- Amati Lelunganan which means No Journey (not going anywhere/no traffic)
- Amati Lelanguan which means No Pleasure (fasting and no revelry/self-entertainment)
This means for that the world has been cleansed in the Silence Day and everything starts anew on the very next day.
Although Nyepi is primarily a Hindu holiday, non-Hindu residents of Bali observe the day of silence as well, out of respect for their fellow citizens. Some notable things that tourists must understand on Nyepi Day:
- Shops are closed on Nyepi Day.
- No traffic within the day.
- No check-in/check out activity in all hotels accross Bali.
- Visitors have to stay inside the hotel/resort area.
- TV and other electronic devices are permitted to use in the hotel at minimal level of sound and brightness.
- Bali Airport, Ngurah Rai International Airport, and all harbor accesses to Bali are closed on Nyepi Day. No arrival nor departure in the airport during the day annually.
- The airport will only allow overfly flights, transfer, or emergency landing.
- Public services such as hospitals and transportations for the sick, maternity and other emergency cases will be tolerated on the restricted judgment of village chiefs.
A day prior the Nyepi day, a Tawur Agung Kesanga (Great Sacrifice Ceremony) is held to welcome the Nyepi day. The ceremony is held in every cross-roads in Bali approximately at noon. The ritual is followed by Pengrupukan, procession “Ogoh-Ogoh” (monster replica) symbolizing evil spirit and torches around the villages and towns as to exorcise them away from people’ residences . So that those evil spirits will not disturb the process of the Caka New Year.
The Ogoh-ogoh procession will be held after dusk. The demonic statues made of bamboo and paper symbolizing negative elements or malevolent spirit. It would took approximately a month to make the replicas. Each sub-village has its own Ogoh-ogoh. The Ogoh-ogoh will be lifting by a group of young men, parade it around the town/village, to every cross-roads while other groups bringing torches. After the Ogoh-ogoh have been paraded around the village, the Ngrupuk ritual takes place, which involves burning the Ogoh-ogoh.
This parade is an interesting one to watch. If you are keen to witness this annual parade, you could ask the hotel/resort you stayed about it. Usually they have someone to guide you to the parade at no cost.
On the day after Nyepi, known as Ngembak Geni, social activity picks up again quickly, as families and friends gather to ask forgiveness from one another, and to perform certain religious rituals together. When the new dawn break after the Nyepi Day, the air of the island of Bali will be very pure and fresh because no emission is release on Nyepi.
Nyepi falls on 21 March 2015.
To experience Nyepi at our villas, please visit us at:
Furama Villas & Spa Ubud