Things to Know before Celebrating Nyepi 2019

Nyepi, the Hindu New Year, is coming. This national holiday will be celebrated on March 7, 2019, in Bali and other Hindu communities.

Since the Hindu New Year’s Eve is welcomed rather differently from that of its counterpart we think you should know some basic facts about it beforehand.

A new year of solitude

To trace the origin of Nyepi, we must take it back to twenty centuries ago and sojourn to India. In 78 AD, Kanishka the Great of the Kushan dynasty won the Indian’s game of thrones. This ended long dark years of hatred between Indian tribes. The coronation of Kanishka began the years of Saka, the years of (national) revival, renewal, unification, tolerance, and peace.

That’s why Nyepi is embraced with solitude. For 24 hours, from 6 am to 6 am the next morning, Balinese people will perform catur brata penyepian. They are avoiding four taboos: turning on the fire/light/electricity, working or doing physical activities, having fun, and travelling.

As a result, all of the activities in Bali will halt. The roads will be empty, the airport will stop operating. There won’t be any aeroplanes landing or taking-off at Ngurah Rai International Airport for 24 hours. The markets will be deserted, the government offices will not open, and the cafes and clubs will be completely dead.

This will give the Earth a break. In the night, due to the lack of light pollution, the sky will be so clear you can see all of the constellations in the observable universe. The next morning the air will be so fresh and crisp that it can leave the initiators of Kyoto Protocol awestruck.

What to expect—before and after the celebration

There will be several rituals conducted prior to and following the celebration of Nyepi. Three or four days before the New Year, people wearing white traditional clothes will walk to the Balinese temples (Pura) to perform the rite of Melasti. This is to purify sacred objects kept in the temples.

 

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Melasti is a Hindu Balinese purification ceremony and ritual, which according to Balinese calendar is held several days prior to the Nyepi holy day. It is observed by Hindus in Indonesia, especially in Bali. Melasti was meant as the ritual to cleanse the world from all the filth of sin and bad karma, through the symbolic act of acquiring the “the water of life” Tirta Amerta. Melasti ceremony is held on the edge of the beach with the aim to purify oneself of all the bad things in the past and throw it to the ocean. In Hindu belief, the source of water such as lake and sea water, are considered as the source of life/Tirta Amrita. In addition to performing prayers, during Melasti ceremony, all of sacred objects which belongs to atemple, such as pralingga or pratima of Lord Ida Sanghyang Widi Wasa, and all of sacred equipments, are being cleaned and purified. Source : Dominik-Photography.com Photo Credit : @dominikvanyi ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ 🌏RESPECT OUR EARTH🌍 🚮🚯KEEP BALI CLEAN & GREEN🌿🌴 ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ Use our hashtag #BaliPedia to allow us feature your perfect moment in Bali ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤

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On Malam Pengerupukan, one day before the Balinese start their ritual of silence, thousands of colossal, grotesque paper statues symbolizing demons (ogoh-ogoh) will be marched throughout the towns. These will eventually be burned at the cemeteries.

Traditionally, all of the communities (Banjar) will compete to build the most spectacular ogoh-ogoh for it is considered the community’s pride. People will spend many hours working together in the community hall to design them.

The following day the Balinese celebrate Ngembak Geni (relighting the fire). They visit families and neighbours and acquaintances to ask for their forgiveness and renew their relationships.

In the village of Sesetan in Denpasar, Ngembak Geni is celebrated by a festival called omed-omedan. This is where the cheeks of two young “lovebirds” are allowed to meet, in public. But the procession is not that simple. The village boys and girls are divided into two groups, facing each other. Following the signal from both leaders, the two groups approach one another. They then start to pull, hug, and eventually kiss their “other” on the cheeks. The crowds will even pour buckets of water on them!

However, omed-omedan is not without philosophy. The youth pulling one another means that they are letting go of the negative energy while embracing the positive. Beside, omed-omedan has since long been a successful means of the singles to find their future husband or wife.

Some important facts and information you need to know

Now that we’ve discussed some basic facts about Nyepi, we can talk about other matters. Firstly, you must know as a tourist you are expected to respect the rituals of Nyepi. Stay in the vicinity of your hotel—you can still do activities within the area of your hotels, such as walking, jogging, or swimming—and do not make any noise.

Secondly, if you get sick—seriously ill—you can call the hospital and ask for the only vehicles allowed to travel the road during Nyepi, an ambulance, to pick you up at the hotel and take you to the hospital. During Nyepi, the hospitals in Bali will stay open.

Thirdly, you must know that last year the Internet was shut down 24 hours during Nyepi. So it is possible this year they will once again cut the Internet connection. Call your loved ones and tell them that you’ll be off for some time. And if you have deadlines for March 7, 2019, it’s better that you finish it up before the providers switch off the connection at 6 am.

So get prepared!