Celebrating Nyepi Day in Bali 2018

Nyepi Day in Bali is a New Year celebration unlike anywhere else on the planet. Bali celebrates the Saka New Year as the Bali Day of Silence. It’s ultimately the quietest day of the year, when all of the island’s inhabitants abide by a set of local rules. These bring all routine activities to a complete halt. Roads all over Bali are void of any traffic and nobody steps outside of their home premises.

Most Balinese and visitors regard Nyepi as a much-anticipated occasion. Some expats and those coming from neighbouring islands prefer escaping Bali for the day rather, due to restrictions that surround the observance. Some others check coinciding dates ahead before their Bali trip, avoiding it altogether. Anyhow, Nyepi is worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime. Especially, since the preceding and following days offer rare highlights to behold!

The Balinese Hindus follow a ritual called the Catur Brata Penyepian, roughly the ‘Four Nyepi Prohibitions’. These include amati geni or ‘no fire’, amati lelungan or ‘no travel’, amati karya ‘no activity’, and amati lelanguan ‘no entertainment’. Some consider it a time for total relaxation and contemplation, for others, a chance for Mother Nature to ‘reboot’ herself after 364 days of human pestering. No lights are turned on at night – total darkness and seclusion goes along with this new moon island-wide, from 06:00 to 06:00.

The evening before Nyepi day Balinese carry large Ogoh Ogoh through Bali’s streets. Already young kids follow the example of their fathers. The statues are up to 25feet tall and can be very heavy. With the help of a bamboo grid a large group of men carry the ogoh ogoh followed by Balinese gamelan musicians.

No motor vehicles whatsoever are allowed on the streets, except ambulances and police patrols and emergencies. As a hotel guest, you are confined to your hotel premises, but free to continue to enjoy the hotel facilities as usual. Traditional community watch patrols or pecalang enforce the rules of Nyepi, patrolling the streets by day and night in shifts

Nyepi – Day of Silence

The third are the Nyepi Rituals. Nyepi Day!
This day is strictly reserved for self-reflection anything that might interfere with that purpose is strictly prohibited. The inner and outer world is expected to be clean and everything starts anew, with Man showing his symbolic control over himself and the “force” of the World, hence the mandatory religious control. Nyepi expects a day of absolute silence, based on the four precepts of Catur Brata:
Amati Geni: No fire or light, including no electricity. Prohibition of satisfying pleasurable human appetites.
Amati Karya: No form of physcial working other then that which is dedicated to spiritual cleansing and renewal.
Amati Lelunganan: No movement or traveling.
Amati Lelanguan: Fasting and no revelry/self-entertainment or general merrymaking.

Ngembak Geni, the day after Nyepi

On the day after Nyepi, referred to as ‘Ngembak Geni’, head down to the village of Sesetan in southern Denpasar for the omed-omedan, roughly known as the ‘festival of smooches’. This is a much-localized event, pertaining only to Sesetan’s Banjar Kaja community. Youths take to the street as water is splashed and sprayed by villagers, and the highlight being two throngs of boys and girls, in a tug-of-war-like scene. Successive pairs in the middle are pushed to a smooch with each shove and push. Interested in experiencing these rare highlights in Bali? Don’t worry if you missed out on this year’s. Plan ahead for next year’s Saka New Year 1941, on March 7, 2019.