Nyepi Day, the Hindu Day of Silence in Bali

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Calm and serenity in a Hindu temple during Nyepi Day. Image: veryrandomstreams.blogspot.com
Virtually every culture and religion has the turn of the year celebration for the old to the New Year. Internationally, the world celebrates the New Year every January 1. 

Chinese people and the Chinese community also celebrated, called the Lunar New Year or Imlek. Muslim communities also celebrate their own new year with a different time. 

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Melasti ceremony parade on the beachImage: balitrips.net
The true meaning of New Year celebrations, not only to mark the turn of the calendar from the old year to the new era, but also a great opportunity for those who celebrate to reflect on what has been done in the past year, so we can do things better in the next year.

Every 31 December we always celebrate New Year's Eve with a lively, party, fireworks, special food, wine and champagne, dancing and expressing resolution. However, Balinese Hindus celebrate the Balinese New Year with a very unique way, quiet, and calm. Nyepi Day is a day to contemplate and cleanse the mind and body.


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A beautiful Melasti procession. Image: realwonderoftheworld.com
Just for the record, the Balinese use two different calendar systems. They have adopted the Gregorian calendar for business, official or government purposes. But for the endless procession of holy days, temple anniversaries, building houses, wedding ceremonies, death and cremation and other activities that define Balinese life, they use Balinese Saka calendar.

 Nyepi Day is also determined using the Balinese calendar, the eve of Nyepi falling on the night of the new moon whenever it occurs around March/April each year. Therefore, the date for Nyepi changes every year, and there is not a constant number of days difference between each Nyepi as there is for such days as Galungan and Kuningan. 

As described previously, the Balinese open Their New Year in silence. This is called Nyepi Day (Hari Raya Nyepi), the Balinese day of Silence, which falls on the day following the dark moon of the spring equinox, and opens a new year of the Saka Hindu era began in 78 AD.  The main meaning of Nyepi is a day to make and keep the balance of nature.

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Ogoh-ogoh the symbol of evil spirit on paradeImage: balipod.com
Do you want to feel the atmosphere of Hari Raya Nyepi (Nyepi Day) in Bali?

You can book Nyepi holiday packaged, and you can choose a good hotel or villa, so you can enjoy the best moment during the Nyepi Day. Contact your travel agent or you can find the information on the Internet.

Before you decide, you should be prepared for a full day without being able to enjoy a sightseeing trip around Bali. You have to stay in a hotel or villa for one day. At the time of the New Year, Balinese Hindu community in no way out of the house did not turn on the radio, television and lights (electricity) goes out for a full day, but they are fast. They just live in a house or a lot about a meditation on the temple in their village.

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Perang api or fire war, a day before Nyepi. Image: getintravel.com
However, you do not have to worry, because three days and one day before Nyepi Day, the Balinese people perform ceremonies that will surely fascinate your heart. Three days before the New Year, you can see across the Melasti ceremony Balinese villages, also in the mountains and beaches of Bali. Melasti is meant to clean the pratima or sculpture or pralingga (statue), with symbols that's help to concentrate the mind in order to become closer to God.

The ceremony or the procession is aimed to clean all nature and its content and also to take the Amerta (the source for the Eternal life) from the ocean or other water resources (i.e. lake, river or other springs). Three days before Nyepi, all the effigies of the Gods from the potentials village temples are taken to the river or beach in long and Colorful ceremonies. They have are bathed by the Neptune of the Balinese Lord, the God Baruna, before being taken back home to their shrines.

At this occasion you will see a procession or parade from a temple to the beach or river. The ceremony was very beautiful to the accompaniment of music Bleganjur parade, the traditional music of Bali. You will believe that you have been in heaven.

Well, on the day before Nyepi Day, you should not miss an amazing celebration, all villages in Bali hold a large exorcism ceremony at the main village cross road, the meeting place of demons. They usually make- Ogoh - ogoh (the fantastic monsters or evil spirits or the Butha Kala made ​​of bamboo and other special material) for carnival purposes. The Ogoh - ogoh monsters symbolize the evil spirits surrounding our environment roommates have to be got rid of from our lives.
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Lonely road on Nyepi Day. Image: indosurflife.com

The Carnivals themselves are held all over Bali following sunset. Bleganjur, Balinese gamelan music accompanies the procession. Some are giants taken from classical Balinese lore. All have fangs, bulging eyes and scary hair and are illuminated by torches. Beforehand, there will be a Perang Api (fire war) to start the parade with.

When Ogoh-ogoh is being played by the Seka Teruna (members of the youth organization), everyone enjoys the carnival. In order to makes a harmonic relation between human being and God, human and human, and human and their environments. This is the philosophy of the Hindu community in Bali known as Tri Hita Karana, namely the creation of a harmonious relationship between human beings, our relationship with God, as well as to create a balanced relationship between humans and nature and the environment.

Tawur Kesanga is performed in every level of society, from the people’s house. In the evening, the Hindus celebrating Ngerupuk start making noises and light burning torches and set fire to the Ogoh - ogoh in order to get the Bhuta Kala, evil spirits, out of our lives. You will witness the festive and magical atmosphere. You have to see this unique and capture the moment your digital camera.

Nyepi celebrations outside Bali
 
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Ogoh ogoh parade in Hindu temple, in Klaten, Central Java. Image.telegraph.co.uk
Outside the island of Bali, Balinese Hindus also celebrate Nyepi, as well as with a series of ceremonies in Bali, also celebrated with Melasti procession of Ogoh-Ogoh and parade, but other activities take place such as a typical day, the vehicle still milling about in the streets, so that the Hindus will stay in their homes and create silence, without a television, radio, gadgets, laptops or smartphones. 

As you can see in this photo, Hinduism community in Klaten, Central Java with full Ogoh-ogoh is paraded happily in a Hindu temple, a day before Nyepi, as carried out by Hindus in Bali.

Nyepi Day is a national holiday in Indonesia, but only in Bali you will find an atmosphere that is so quiet, peaceful, and without pollution.

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Pecalang, a traditional security walk alone in Kuta. Image: balebengong.net
After the ceremony is complete, you can enjoy a variety of other events in hotels, villas, cafes and other places because the next day is Nyepi Day, you can no longer get out of your hotel location. But you do not need to worry, you can still move at the hotel, provided that you will not be able to enjoy a disco or music to honor the Balinese Hindu community who were celebrating their new year in a calm and peaceful atmosphere.

At the peak of the Balinese New Year, all the roads in Bali will be free of motor vehicles, except for a few police vehicles, or a handful of people who got a special card for a special task such as a doctor or nurse to be on duty in the hospital. All malls, art shops, government offices and the private sector do not work for a full day. To keep the the atmosphere of of Nyepi, the village clerk Indigenous or Pecalang will patrol during Nyepi day.  However, you can still enjoy food and drink at your hotel.

These are four rituals (Catur Brata Penyepian) to be followed on Nyepi Day.
1. Amati Geni - no fire or light (including no electricity)
2. Amati Karya - no work
3. Amati Lelungan - no travelling
4. Amati Lelanguan - fasting and no revelry, no entertainment

The whole day is simply filled with the bark of a few dogs, the shrill of insect and is a simple long quiet day in the calendar of this otherwise hectic island. On Nyepi the world expected to be clean and everything starts anew, with Man showing his symbolic control over himself and the "force" of the World, hence the mandatory religious control.

You may ask, if there is a baby or a sick person in the house, whether it also should not turn on the lights? In this condition, there is a light that should remain lit in the room, so the family could take care of the baby and caring for family members who are in care. Some lights on hospital room may also remain lit. There is always a special exception for certain conditions.

The Day after Nyepi

The day after Nyepi is called Ngembak Geni. After successfully completing their day of restraint and purification people feel very happy and enjoy going out to visit family and friends to ask forgiveness for past mistakes. Hindu Balinese, wherever they are living, always endeavor to celebrate Nyepi, but it is on the island of Bali itself that you can sense the special nature of this unique moment. Celebration of Nyepi Day in Bali is a very rare event and very unique. If there is a celebration like this in other countries, please let me know.

After a study by environmental experts and activists who support the movement of global warming prevention, Bali in one day has made a huge energy savings, as well as a day with no air pollution and no noise. There is tons of gasoline, electric power and other energy can be saved in the day. Bali, whose residents are predominantly Hindu, saved up to 3,000 kiloliters of subsidized fuels at Nyepi, the Hindu Day of Silence. While the government is thinking about (how to reduce the use of subsidized fuel) Bali residents have been able to cut down on the use of subsidized fuel on their own.


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Care free day on Balinese New YearImage: blog.co.uk
 If you are there in the city car free day , and the program turn off the lights for a few hours , then the people of Bali has been a movement of energy saving or prevention of global warming since hundreds of years ago .

Do you agree that in your country there is one day in the entire country without a vehicle? What about a day without lights? If it can be done every year, then we will enjoy the many physical and psychological benefits.

Do you want to immediately enjoy the calm and peaceful atmosphere of a full day in Bali? That the celebration of the new year Nyepi in 2015 in contrast to last year, this year, Nyepi Day falls on March 21, 2015. Therefore, please come to this paradise island a few days before the date of March 21, 2015, so you can meditate or yoga and feel the excitement of two ceremonies; three-day and the day before Nyepi Day. By 2016, the Balinese New Year's celebration will also be celebrated on a different date, as previously described, that for activities or celebrations relating to customs or Hinduism, the Hindu people of Bali using Saka calendar.

Bali is unique both in terms of the celebration of the Hindu religion, customs, arts and culture, so it is very interesting to visit for a variety of leisure activities such as diving, honeymoon, family vacation, surfing, spas, shopping, and a variety of other adventures.


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