Nyepi, the Hindu New Year, is coming. This national holiday will be celebrated on March 7, 2019, in Bali or in other places where the Balinese community exist.
Since the Hindu New Year’s Eve is welcomed rather differently from that of its counterpart, the Gregorian calendar—throwing party, shouting countdown, shooting fireworks—we think you should know some basic facts about it before the arrival.
A new year of solitude
To trace the origin of Nyepi, the first day of the year in the Saka calendar, we must take a time travel 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, ending 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 in solitude. For 24 hours, from 6 am to 6 am the next morning, the Balinese will perform catur brata penyepian or avoiding one’s self from four taboos, namely 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 and there will be no airplane landing or taking-off at Ngurah Rai International Airport for 24 hours, the markets will be deserted, the government offices will not open, the cafes and clubs will be far from festive—it is as if the world stands still.
But it 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.
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A noite, sem luzes durante o Nyepi, o Dia do Silêncio balinês, uma celebração hindú, celebrada principalmente em Bali na Indonésia, é o momento perfeito para uma foto celestial! O registro é do @manggalih Em Bali viva como um balinês, quer saber como? Basta me perguntar antes de sua próxima viagem! @bali Leonardo Dantas-O HOMEM DO MARKETING #bali #nyepi #nyepi2018 #baliindonesia #baliguide #baligasm #indonesia #indonesia_photography #indonesian #travel #tour #instagram #star #luxuryconcierge #luxurylife #conciergeservices #concierge #luxuryconcierge #luxuryconciergeservices #luxurybali #fortaleza #fortalezaceara #fortalezace #ceara
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) situated near the bodies of water—river, lake, or ocean—performing the rite of Melasti 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 ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤
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 and eventually burnt 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—men, women, children—will spend many hours working together in the community hall to design and execute the project.
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 (pulling each other) 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, starting to pull, hug, and eventually kiss their “opponent” on the cheeks. The crowds will not only watch them—they will pour buckets of water to them!
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The “Kissing Ritual”, Omed Omedan in Sesetan takes place the day after Balinese New Year (another day with very strong traditions). To be fair I only could directly see hugging, but there was some face to face. All the boys were looking excited throughout, the girls more shy. Not too many tourist, came on recommendation of my friend otherwise I wouldn’t have known about event! Also useful to know the main event starts at ~3 pm, I ended up arriving way too early and waiting around. #bali #denpasar #sesetan #omedomedan #omedomedan2017 #hugging
However, omed-omedan, though it seems fun and exciting, is not without philosophy. They 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 beloved 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!