Nyepi (the Day of Silence) - A Balinese Way of Celebrating New Year
Generally, most cultures in the world celebrate the coming of a new year with parties and festive events. However, the Balinese celebrate it in an anti-mainstream way. The new year Saka, a Balinese Hindu year, is welcomed with a “Day of Silence” – a day filled with total silence, fasting and meditation or self-contemplation.
The day is commemorated every year according to the Bali’s calendar. Observed for a 24-hour period starting from 06:00hrs through to 06:00 AM the next morning, Nyepi Day is a day reserved for peaceful meditation and self-reflection and as such, everything else that interferes with this purpose is prohibited.
There are Catur Brata Penyepian – the four Nyepi main restrictions observed during the day:
- Amati Geni : no fire/power/light, including anger (emotion) and electricity
- Amati Karya : no working nor doing any kind of activities
- Amati Lelungan : no travelling
- Amati Lelanguan : no revelry/entertainment
Although primarily a Hindu holiday, non-Hindu residents of Bali observe the Day of Silence out of respect to their fellow neighbours. The only exceptions granted are for police officers and emergency vehicles carrying those with life threatening conditions and women preparing to give birth. For the entire island of Bali, there is no traffic plying the roads on that day. Ngurah Rai International airport is totally closed, so there will be no arrivals nor departures in the airport on that day. There is no television and radio broadcast during the day as well, due to the Amati Lelanguan (no revelry/entertainment) restriction. Traditionally, local officers called Pecalang are put in-charge to monitor that these restrictions are respected. There will be a serious penalty for any violence against the rules.
So, dare to experience something different? Come and celebrate the Day of Silence in Bali.