Bali Culture – Nyepi the day of silence!
Tomorrow the 9th of March is Nyepi, the silent day in Bali. It marks the new year in the Saka calendar and is a day of silence, fasting and meditation for Balinese Hindus.
It is hard to describe to visitors to Bali that there really are no activities during Nyepi.
– The airport is closed
– The shops are closed
– The TV stations and Radio Stations are shut down
– The beaches are closed
– There is no traffic allowed on the roads except for emergency vehicles
– The only people to be seen on the streets are the Pecalang, traditional security men to ensure Nyepi rituals are being followed.
– Tourists must stay in their resorts and keep sound to a minimum.
So if you are here on Nyepi, find a good book!
These mandatory religious prohibitions include no pleasure (amati lelanguan), no traffic (amati lelungaan), no fire (amati geni) and no work (amati karya).
Today is Pengerupukan Day, the day before Nyepi when the Bhuta Yajna Ritual is performed in order to vanquish the negative elements and create a balance with God, Mankind, and Nature. Devout Hindu Balinese villages usually make ogoh-ogoh, demonic statues made of bamboo and paper symbolizing negative elements or malevolent spirits, an object or anything that disturbs human lives. After the ogoh-ogoh have been paraded around the village, the Ngrupuk ritual takes place, which involves burning the ogoh-ogoh.
On Nyepi itself the only sounds are dogs, roosters and the wind. Any of the spiritual terrors still lurking are supposed to think Bali has been abandoned. Hindu scholars say the noise of Nyepi Eve Pengerupukan Day is actually to wake up the demons so they’ll see the offerings laid out for them. The day of quiet, in this view, is contentment and gratitude that the demons have been appeased for another year.
This year is extra special because at 8.27am a full solar eclipse can be seen, making Bali not only silent but dark.
To find out more about the culture of Bali check out our land tours