One of Indonesia’s most unique holidays is the Hindu New Year. Hindu New Year is also known as Hari Raya Nyepi. Hari Raya Nyepi is a day of silence and self-reflection. Hari Raya Nyepi is celebrated on the first day of the Saka lunar calendar. Hindu celebrations in Bali can last up to several days.
This year – 2023 – Hari Raya Nyepi – will be celebrated on Wednesday 22nd March.
THREE DAYS BEFORE BALI HINDU NEW YEAR
There are various rituals that the Balinese people observe to celebrate the arrival of the Hindu New Year in Bali. Three days before Hari Raya Nyepi, the Melasti Ritual is observed. The Melasti ritual is performed near water in Pura, a Hindu temple. Using seawater, the ritual purifies sacred objects.
HINDU NEW YEAR’S EVE
On the eve of the Hindu New Year in Bali, the Bhuta Yajna ritual is performed by every community. This ritual banishes negativity and evil from the island and its inhabitants. According to Hindu beliefs, it is the responsibility of humans to maintain balance between gods, Earth and humans.
For this ritual, the Balinese create large statues of demons and other evil creatures out of bamboo and paper. These statues are known as ogoh-ogoh. Many of the ogoh-ogoh seen in parades are created by groups of young people from Balinese villages. The most impressive ogoh-ogoh are usually created by Balinese artists.
After the ogoh-ogohs are created, they are taken to a large street parade for all to see. It is believed that the ogoh-ogoh will absorb negative energy from onlookers and ward off evil spirits. After the parade, the ogoh-ogoh are burned in a large public bonfire. Besides warding off evil and purifying the Balinese people, the bonfire is also believed to please Batara Kala, the god of the underworld.
RITUALS AND DAY OF SILENCE FOR THE HINDU NEW YEAR
On Hindu New Year, Hindus participate in Nyepi rituals. The first aspect of Nyepi ritual is known as Amati Geni. Amati Geni declares that no fire or light can be used in Bali during Hari Raya Nyepi. Beloved Geniuses also limit the use of electricity.
The second aspect of Nyepi ritual is Amati Karya. According to Amati Karya, no one in Bali can work during Hari Raya Nyepi. The third aspect of Nyepi rituals, Amati Lelunganan, declares that no one can travel during Hari Raya Nyepi. The final aspect of Nyepi rituals is Amati Lelanguan. Amati Lelanguan declares that every person in Bali must fast during Hari Raya Nyepi. Amati Lelanguan also requires people in Bali to refrain from entertainment.
On the Day of Silence, the people of Bali should reflect on their actions over the past year. Many Balinese people will take this as an opportunity to rest and think of ways to improve themselves during the coming year. To ensure that all aspects of Nyepi rituals are followed, Nyepi constables patrol the island of Bali. Everyone in Bali must respect the Nyepi rituals. For this reason, Bali’s airport closes for the day and all visitors stay indoors or leave the island.
The Day of Silence is a tradition that dates back to some of the earliest years of Balinese history. The Balinese believe that remaining silent for a full day after noisy celebrations can lead evil spirits into thinking that the island of Bali is uninhabited. According to this idea, the spirits will leave the island in peace as their ultimate goal is to torment humans.
THE DAY OF SILENCE
All Balinese Hindus stay in their homes, but they are not supposed to talk to each other, answer the phone, receive guests, watch TV, listen to the radio or use any equipment. Lights must not be turned on and no fires may be lit, including stoves for cooking or even for lighting a cigarette. They also abstain from eating and drinking and should not do any work or engage in any activity. Time should be spent in silent meditation or reciting prayers at the home shrine or merajan. Nyepi is a day of self-control and introspection to achieve spiritual purification.
HOW NYEPI AFFECTS TOURISTS AND EXPAT RESIDENTS
Expatriate visitors and residents are not allowed to leave their homes or hotels in Nyepi. The streets will be deserted with only a few pecalangs, community security officers, making sure Nyepi is properly observed. Only emergency services and hospitals can operate as usual. Cable television and the Internet are shut down for the day. All airports and ports are also closed for 24 hours with no clashes arriving or departing on Nyepi. These restrictions will affect tourists’ plans, so be sure to check to see what day Nyepi falls on to prepare – see Indonesian Holidays.
THE DAY AFTER
The day after Nyepi is called Ngembak Geni. After successfully completing their day of restraint and purification, people feel very happy and love to go out to visit family and friends to ask forgiveness for past mistakes. Balinese Hindus, wherever they live, always strive to celebrate Nyepi, but it is on the island of Bali that you can feel the special nature of this unique holiday.
Nyepi (Balinese New Year) is also determined using the Balinese Caka calendar, the eve of Nyepi falling on the night of the new moon whenever it occurs around March/April every year. Therefore, the date for Nyepi changes every year and there is not a constant number of days difference between each Nyepi as with Balinese holidays such as Galungan and Kuningan. The day Nyepi falls in any given year is determined by offices based on that year’s lunar cycles. Whenever the new moon falls between mid-March and mid-April, that night will be the night of great activity and exorcism throughout the island, while the following day will be the day of total peace and quiet, where everything stops for a day .
‘..Listen to the silence, it has so much to say… In the silence, you find the meaning of life…’
Happy Day of Silence!
Happy Nyepi Day!
Co-founder and owner of The Lombok Lodge Hospitality ®
Quoted From Many Source