The Balinese Day of Silence

25 Feb 2022 • 7 min read

Image of The Balinese Day of Silence

What is Nyepi? If you’ve never been to Bali before in March, then it’s likely that you’ve never heard of this holiday. It is the most important Balinese Hindu celebration, which marks the turn of the New Year in the Caka Calendar (one of the the calendars that Balinese abide by). Nyepi is a silent day that that occurs for 24 hours during March, each year, following the new moon. It is a day of compulsory quietness (A.K.A. an introverts dream!) that is reserved for self-contemplation. Anything that may interfere with that purpose is restricted. This year (2022) Nyepi falls on March 3rd.

  • THE PURPOSE OF NYEPI

Nyepi is a time of purification prior to the New Year. All of the evil spirits that have been lurking over this island paradise are metaphorically told to pack their bags and scram! This is represented through a series of events that occur in the lead up to the sacred holiday. The day of silence influences the malevolent spirits into believing that there is no one left on the island; thus, causing them to leave.

  • NYEPI ACTIVITY

The lead up to Nyepi sees a whole series of events occur. Driving around town in the weeks prior, you will notice each banjar (village) creating a large monster-like sculpture. These are called ‘ogoh-ogoh’ and represent the bad spirits that are being guided to leave the island during the Nyepi ceremony. Melasti ceremonies occur in the days leading up to Nyepi. They are a cleansing process for people and sacred artefacts which are held alongside the water, at many coastlines around Bali.

The day before Nyepi is when the action happens! It begins with prayers in the family temples followed by ‘pengrupukan’; where family members clang a series of loud objects (pots, pans, instruments) around their homes/compounds to chase away malevolent spirits. These spirits are represented by the ogoh-ogoh sculptures which will then be paraded, down the streets, from each individual banjar at 3pm towards town.

The central location for the largest (and most popular) ogoh-ogoh parade in Ubud is at the soccer field on Monkey Forest Rd. Head there around 5pm to see the incredible sculptures. Each village is getting more and more competitive every year in the creation of their elaborate monsters. The ogoh-ogoh’s are usually (arrangements may change each year) paraded on the soccer field and then carried down Monkey Forest Road where they ‘compete’ against one another in a simulated fight. This is a sight not to be missed! Children and men from the villages haul the large monsters atop bamboo frames onto their shoulders and walk down the road. After which, they are carried home to be burned in their respective villages.

The following day is the day of silence. Everyone who resides on the Island of Bali at this time needs to respect and follow the rules of Nyepi.

  • THE RULES ON THE SILENT DAY

There are four main Nyepi prohibitions; Amati Geni (no fire, light, electricity), Amati Karya (no working), Amati Lelunganan (no travelling), Amati Leanguan (Fasting and no entertainment). I know what you’re thinking ‘no fun!’- but you’re wrong! These rules actually create a magical peaceful landscape where we can go back in time from millennial tech, chill out, and give our eyes a break from the screen for a day. Say ‘catchyalater’ to the guilt that lurks around telling you to be doing more each time you relax; ‘cause on Nyepi- you legit aren’t allowed to! It’s a day where you are required to stop, calm down and enter contemplation as the Caka calendar clocks over into the New Year.

Here are the main rules to follow as of 6am on the 3rd of March until 6am on the 4th of March:

• Do not go out onto the street: Everyone is required to stay inside the premises in which they reside on Nyepi. There is no traffic on the roads or people on the streets. Every village will assign local law enforcers (pecalang) to patrol the streets via bicycle to ensure that no one leaves their accommodation.

• No motor vehicles may be used: With the exception of emergency services.

• Be quiet: If we haven’t conveyed the whole ‘silent’ factor of Nyepi yet. Keep the noise level to a minimum- no one outside your room should be able to hear you.

• No light: This is the most magical element of Nyepi. Because when there is no light pollution in the sky, oh boy, do those stars shine! Make sure you take glimpse of the shimmering skyline after sundown. It may just be the finest part of the whole experience of Nyepi. You can use low lighting to navigate around your indoor space as long as it isn’t visible from the exterior of the room- use your shutters.

• No electricity: This is a debateable one, as some people still use it. Technically you shouldn’t. But there won’t be anyone in your room to police this. If you do choose to use electricity, use it on things that won’t disturb the peace (i.e. no stereos, speakers, TVs). Turn off any automated electronics that may cause a disturbance (pool pumps, sensor lighting etc.)

THINGS TO CONSIDER IN THE LEAD UP TO NYEPI:

• The airport will be closed from 6am on the 3rd of March until 6am on the 4th of March. Similarly, you will not be able to get transport anywhere on the island during this period.

• From around 3pm on the day prior to Nyepi, villages will begin to transport their ogoh-ogohs to central locations in each town in Bali. Undoubtedly, causing traffic jams. If you need to get around the island on this day, plan accordingly by allowing extra time in transit.

• Unless your hotel provides it, you will need to pre-arrange food and water for the 24-hour period to eat in your home/accommodation. We have posted some suggestions on Facebook about this. You can re-heat meals at home (as cooking smelly foods is ill advised), get takeaway or organise a pre-arranged meal pack to take home prior to the silent day.

• There will be no internet on the entire island of Bali from 6am on the 3rd of March until 6am on the 4th of March (*cue grumpy old foreigners having a whinge*). Any plans you have to work online, contact others via online services etc. will need to be re-arranged. This is the first year that the authorities are implementing this rule. It is an attempt to stop people leaving their homes and taking selfies on the abandoned streets (ugh, sigh), and to also promote the philosophy of silence and contemplation. [Note: authorities have confirmed that internet will be suspended during this time, but speculation still circulates as to whether it’s phone-only internet or the entire service].

• Most stores will be closed from 9pm on the 2nd until 9am on the 4th. Some may stay closed longer; however there will be plenty of places open around brunch o’clock by the 4th.

Nyepi is unlike any other holiday in Bali, and is certainly unlike any experience in the West. For 24 hours you can experience the entire island in complete silence; bugs, ducks and birds dominate the soundscape without the low hum of motorbikes. If you’re not keen to be a part of this enchanting holiday you can make preparations in advance to head to Java, Lombok or the Gili Islands (which are generally packed at this time). Yet, it is something that we believe, everyone should have on their bucket list to experience at least once in their lifetime.

 

 

Source  : https://ubudhood.com/nyepi/

Did You Find This Article Was Helpful? Please Share

Similar article
Image of International Flights To Bali Opened
04 Feb 2022 2 min read
International Flights To Bali Opened

The national airline Garuda Indonesia officially serves the first regular international flight to Bali with the Narita-Denpasar route in 2022. This flight is in line with the return of international flights through I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali.The inaugural flight of the Narita-Denpasar route is served with the A330-300 fleet. Garuda also transported 30 tons of cargo from Japan, consisting of spare parts for construction, automotive, and electronic goods.President Director of Garuda Indonesia, Irfan Setiaputra, said that the operation of this flight was in line with the inauguration of the Denpasar-Narita special cargo flight route via Manado which began operating on Wednesday, February 2, 2022.This is aligned with the government's policy regarding the opening of Bali's international entrances starting on February 4, 2022.The inauguration of the Narita-Denpasar flight route is the result of cooperation between Garuda Indonesia and the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, which also has full support from the Bali Provincial Government and the Indonesian Embassy in Japan.President Director of Garuda Indonesia, Irfan Setiaputra said that the reopening of the Narita-Denpasar flight service was a form of Garuda Indonesia's commitment as a national flag carrier in supporting government programs. In particular, it is related to efforts to accelerate national economic recovery which is optimized through the provision of safe flight service accessibility.Irfan said the Narita-Denpasar international flight was a separate momentum for the acceleration and synergy of all aviation stakeholders in supporting the revival of the national economic sector. Especially Bali, which is one of the integrated economic zones in Indonesia."This flight service is part of our efforts to maximize the market potential of Narita, Japan on an ongoing basis, both through cargo transportation market share which is focused on the transportation of Bali's leading export commodities through special routes for Denpasar-Manado-Narita cargo flights, as well as inbound passenger transportation to Indonesia via Denpasar-Narita flight route", he said in a written statement, Thursday, February 3

Read more
Image of Visa on Arrival and Quarantine-Free Travel to Bali to Begin
07 Mar 2022 2 min read
Visa on Arrival and Quarantine-Free Travel to Bali to Begin

Overseas travellers from several countries entering Indonesia through airports and ports in Bali are no longer required to quarantine and are allowed to use Visa On Arrival (VoA), starting 7th March 2022 The government has also abolished the requirement for a sponsor or guarantor to apply for a tourist E-Visa. However, no official circular has been published by authorities as this news was being published.Bali Governor I Wayan Koser revealed that the decision was taken in a coordination meeting held on 4th March 2022, which was attended by the Ministers of Communications, Health, Tourism and Creative Economy, Transportation, Law and Human Rights, and Foreign Affairs, as well as the Head of the COVID-19 Task Force, coordinator and members a team of experts from the COVID-19 task force, Bali’s Governor, and other officials in Bali.“According to the direction of the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Bali is committed to accelerating the booster vaccine with a minimum target of 30 percent, which is planned to be achieved by 7th March,” said the governor, reported by Bisnis.com.Koster asserted that even though the quarantine policy was removed and overseas travellers will be allowed to use VOA again, the requirements to maintain the health protocols were still in place.Conditions of no quarantine and VoAThe meeting’s decision, which is stated in a report letter, states the health requirements that must be met by the overseas travellers are the following:AustraliaThe United States of AmericaThe United KingdomGermanyThe NetherlandsFranceQatarJapanSouth KoreaCanadaItalyNew ZealandTurkeyUnited Arab EmiratesMalaysiaThailandSingaporeBrunei DarussalamVietnamLaosMyanmarCambodiaPhilippines Source : https://indonesiaexpat.id/news/visa-on-arrival-and-quarantine-free-travel-to-bali-to-begin/

Read more
Image of Magical Melukat: Purifying Our Mind, Body & Soul
23 Feb 2022 2 min read
Magical Melukat: Purifying Our Mind, Body & Soul

Melukat is just one of Bali’s magical rituals which involves using water as a ritual cleanser. The aim is to cleanse both body and mind, to refresh the spirit and dissolve away any negative influences. It is also believed to cure non medical diseases and sickness of the spirit and whether it does or not, a session bathing in holy waters will certainly make you feel good.Many of these places exist in Bali, with the best known and most visited ones are hidden around the Tirtha Empul area. Yet, Tirtha Sudamala Temple remains surprisingly unvisited, and delightfully pristine. Descending the steep road and carved granite steps, you get the feeling that you are discovering something really special. Something unknown.Early morning is the best time to visit, while the air is cool and fresh. Sometimes Bali’s youngest Perdanda – ( high Priestess) is in attendance, although the day we went, she was busy elsewhere. She is said to arrive around 8am and will stay for some time to give blessings to her devoted followers.In technical terms, Melukat derives from the old Javanese word “lukat” which means to “cleanse” or “purify” while the Indonesian meaning is “to let go” or release something within us. Self purification is sought by many Hindus and in India, the devoted throng to the banks of the holy Ganges River with a similar purpose. It is a ritual that can be performed many times, in fact the more, the merrier as it can only lead to good things.After the ritual bathing is done, it is a steep walk up the hill, but the Balinese, being service oriented, have motorbikes awaiting the lazy. What a great invention! So a quick and painless ride back to the top of the hill brings us to several warungs serving a host of local delights. Coffee, a cold coke, a ketupat concoction with vegetables and steamed rice, and several other culinary treats are there to be enjoyed. You can just choose what you will. A few local people sell fruit from their own gardens as well as sweet potatoes and if you are lucky, the especially delicious Bangle avocados, the best on the island. It is all a really wonderful way to start the day, or the week, or even the rest of your life!   Source : https://www.nowbali.co.id/magical-melukat-purifying-mind-body-soul/

Read more