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Nyepi: The Day When Bali Island is in Complete Silence

Nyepi: The Day When Bali Island is in Complete Silence

The Balinese ring in the New Year on Nyepi Day, a holiday that is not observed anywhere else on the planet. In this part of the world, the Saka New Year is also referred to as the Bali day of stillness. All of the people who live on the island are required to comply with a predetermined set of customs, which causes the typical activities that take place on that day to come to a complete and total stop. There is no traffic on the roads throughout the entire island of Bali, and residents do not venture outside their homes.

The majority of people look forward to Nyepi as an important occasion. Because of the restrictions, some foreign residents and visitors arriving from islands close by choose to leave Bali for the day rather than spend their time there. In any case, one should try to attend Nyepi at least once in their lifespan; the days leading up to and following the festival offer some unique sights.

The passing of one month on the western Indian-derived Saka calendar is marked by the day of stillness. It is one of the numerous calendars that have been adopted by the numerous civilizations that make up Indonesia. In addition, the Saka calendar is one of the two calendars that are used concurrently in Bali. This timeline is 78 years behind the Gregorian calendar because it is based on a lunar sequence. The month of March is traditionally the time for Nyepi, which occurs immediately after a new moon.

In the days leading up to Nyepi Eve, the meeting rooms (banjar) of villages display ogoh-ogoh, which are effigies made of paper mache. They are constructed by youth organisations that design and construct their own mythical figures using bamboo framework that is meticulously shaped and tied before being covered in multiple layers of artwork. Since the early 1980s, this commemoration has been spawning offshoots in the form of artistic creations such as these. A significant portion of it has been preserved and incorporated into the ongoing island-wide celebration in such a way that it cannot be separated from it.

Ahead of the day of complete stillness
The most important ceremonies begin approximately three days before Nyepi with a series of flamboyant processions called the Melasti pilgrimages. Pilgrims from various village temples located all over Bali carry heirlooms on lengthy journeys towards the coastlines in order to participate in intricate rituals of purification. It is one of the finest times to take pictures of a traditional Balinese procession, which offers a colourful spectacle with its parasols, banners, and small effigies.

On the night before the New Year in Saka, there is a lot of loud commotion and merriment. Every Balinese family begins the evening by receiving blessings at the family shrine. Following this, they take part in a ceremony known as the pengrupukan, which involves 'chasing away' malevolent forces (bhuta kala) from their respective compounds. A bamboo torch is used to strike pots and pans or any other loud instruments frequently while the instrument is held close to the flame.

After some time has passed, these "spirits" take the form of the ogoh-ogoh and are displayed through the streets. As the street marches get underway, the atmosphere is filled with din, flames, and smoke thanks to bamboo cannons and the occasional firecracker. Traditionally, the Nyepi Eve procession will get underway at seven o'clock in the evening local time.

On Nyepi Day, when businesses and government offices are closed throughout the island, there is utter silence. The Catur Brata Penyepian is a ritual that is practised by Hindus in Bali. It is also known as 'The 4 Nyepi Prohibitions' because during this time period, certain things are forbidden, including: amati geni (no fire), amati lelungan (no journey), amati karya (no activity), and amati lelanguan (no activity). (no entertainment).

Some people view it as an opportunity for complete unwinding and introspection during this time. Others see it as an opportunity for Mother Nature to "reboot" herself after having to bear the burden of human activity for 364 days. No lights are switched on at night, and the entire island is plunged into complete darkness and isolation in observance of this new moon for a full twenty-four hours, until six in the morning the following day.

On the streets, motorised vehicles are prohibited, with the exception of emergency vehicles such as paramedics and police patrol cars. You are not permitted to leave the hotel while you are a visitor there; however, you are free to use all of the hotel's amenities as you would normally. Traditional community watch patrols, also known as pecalang, are responsible for enforcing the regulations of Nyepi. They take turns patrolling the streets during the day and at night.

The day after Nyepi is referred to as Ngembak Geni.
On the day that follows Nyepi, which is known as ngembak geni, you can go to the village of Sesetan in southern Denpasar for the omed-omedan, which is loosely translated to mean the "festival of smooches." This celebration is extremely restricted to the Banjar Kaja community of Sesetan and takes place almost exclusively there.

The highlight of the event is two throngs of boys and girls who engage in a tug-of-war-like scene while the whole village and tourists cheer on. The youths take to the street as water is splashed and sprayed by villagers. With each new round of pushing and shoving, the successive pairs in the centre are coaxed into a passionate embrace.


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