Nyepi is an Indonesian national holiday especially in Bali where the Balinese celebrate it every Isakawarsa (Saka new year). According to the Balinese calendar, 2019 Nyepi Day falls on March 7th. Nyepi is a public holiday in Indonesia and is a day of silence, fasting and meditation for Balinese people. The next day of Nyepi is also celebrated as New Year’s Day. On this day, the Balinese youths in the village of Sesetan in South Bali practice the Omed-omedan ceremony or “the Kissing Ritual” to celebrate the new year.
Nyepi starts from 6am to 6am the next morning. Nyepi is a day provided for self-reflection and as such, anything that can interfere with that goal is limited. The main limitation is that no fire (and the lights must remain low); not working; no entertainment or pleasure; not traveling; and, for some people, no talking or eating at all.
The effect of this ban is that the streets in Bali that are usually crowded become much quieter, there is little or no noise from TV and radio, and some signs of activity are not visible even inside the house. The only people seen outside were Pecalang or the traditional security officers who patrol the around streets to ensure the ban is followed.
Although Nyepi is a Hindu holiday, non-Hindu tourists are not exempt from restrictions. Even though they are free to do what they want in their hotel but no one is allowed to go to the beach or the road and the only airport in Bali remains closed all day. The only exception given is for emergency vehicles that respond to life-threatening conditions and women who will give birth.
On the day after Nyepi or also known as Ngembak Geni (Relighting the Fire), social activities return quickly, when family and friends gather to apologize to each other, and to perform certain religious rituals together. Fires and electricity are allowed again, and cooking food can be done.
As a tourist, you may find this a bit upsetting. But don’t worry because Cakap have 3 things to do to make your vacation still fun during Nyepi Day.
Watch the Melasti Ritual
About 3 to 4 days to Saka New Year and Nyepi Day, Balinese Hindus turn to active procession mode. Hindus in Bali make a long journey from each Pura while carrying the heirlooms to the coastline to conduct a purification ceremony. The Melasti Ritual is dedicated to Sanghyang Widhi Wasa.
This ritual is carried out in Pura (Balinese temple) near the sea (Pura Segara) and is intended to purify Arca, Pratima, and Pralingga (holy objects) belonging to several temples, as well as to obtain holy water from the sea. This moment is one of the best times to capture with a camera because it is one of the most sacred rituals so you will get a variety of unique and touching images.
The Parade of Giants
Ogoh-ogoh are statues that were built for the Ngrupuk parade which was held at night before Nyepi Day in Bali, Indonesia. Ogoh-ogoh usually have forms that facilitates mythology, mostly devils. As with many who try to be creative based on Balinese Hinduism, inviting Ogoh-ogoh represents a spiritual goal inspired by Hindu philosophy.
The main purpose of making Ogoh-ogoh is the purification of the natural environment of every spiritual pollutant emitted from living creation activities (mostly humans). The Ogoh-ogoh forms represent Bhuta-Kala (Bhuta: eternal energy, Kala: eternal time), according to Hindu teachings. The invisible potential of nature cannot be fully explored by anyone. Philosophically, civilized humans are required to manage natural resources without destroying the environment itself.
If the Earth Hour turns off the lights for only one hour, what if the entire island turns off all lights for 24 consecutive hours? By zero light pollution in the deepest night sky in Bali, the compilation of stars are completely the brightest and the Milky Way proudly reveals itself. you can take some pictures of the stars or just enjoying the beautiful starry night from your balcony.
Enjoy the solitude of Nyepi Day in Bali. After hours of Bahasa Indonesia Course on Cakap and you come to Indonesia to practice the language, you may want some times to rest your mind and body. On the next day, you can practice what you had learnt on Bahasa Indonesia Learning Package with the locals again.