Monday, February 25, 2013

Nyepi, Bali's Official Day of Silence

Nyepi – Bali’s official day of silence - is in the news as the governor sends letters reminding all that Bali will go into “total shutdown” on March 12, 201.

If you celebrate the New Year day in revelry, the Balinese open New Year in silence.  The day that falls on the day following the dark moon of the spring equinox, is called Nyepi Day.  Nyepi is a day to keep the balance of nature.  ON this very day, the island falls on total silence.  Every ordinary activity in all of Bali is stopped for 24 hours.  There is no fire or any lamps lighted.  There are no people that go to work, no entertainment or pleasures committed and no people traveling around.  They do not even go outside their homes.  These four prohibitions, usually called Catur Brata Penyepian (the Four Prohibitions in Quietness) help people to control their five earthy senses by mind and wisdom in order to increase the quality of life for the upcoming year.

Nyepi Day is part of a whole week of rituals.  It begins with Melasti, the ritual for cleaning which usually begins with a procession toward the beach or water springs.  The next are animal and plant sacrifice rituals called Caru.  They are held one day before Nyepi.  There is also a large exorcism ceremony at the main village cross roads, the meeting place of demons.  This procession is called Tawur Kesanga, which is always performed until the evening when the Balinese celebrate Ngerupuk.  That is when they start making noises and light burning torches and set fire to the Ogoh-ogoh in order to get the Bhuta Kala, evil spirits, our of our lives. 

The last ritual called Ngembak Geni, is the day of silence and the Balinese usually visit each other in order to forgive.  Balinese Hindus have many kinds of sacred days but perhaps Nyepi is the most important religious day and the prohibitions are taken seriously.

No comments:

Post a Comment