As we familiar with Earth Hour, a worldwide movement for the planet to turn off the lights for one hour which organized by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Balinese also have Nyepi Day (The Balinese New Year) on their Bali land. It is the day when you need to keep minimum lights or turn it off and reminds silent for 24 hours every once a year.
Every culture or religion all over the world has their own way to celebrate their new year. Such as, the Moslems have the Muharam year as their religion new year, The Chinese have Imlek or better known as “Gong Xi Fat Chai” as their new year celebration and most people around the world using the Gregorian calendar, which celebrates the New Year on the 1st of January. The same thing occurs in Bali. Nyepi is Balinese new year celebration, even tho Balinese also use Gregorian calendar as well for business purposes.
Nyepi is a day to keep the balance of nature surroundings. You won’t hear any noise at all, only birds singing and dogs barking. This is my 2nd Nyepi experience in Bali. Last year I was staying at The Breezes Bali Resort & Spa and spent the whole Nyepi there. This year, I stayed at home. It was a silent and dark night last night when I was in my balcony yet we saw the beautiful stars so clearly and we heard nothing but the dogs barked. We turned on the side table lights inside the house which were not exposed to the street and enjoyed my movies and my meals like normal days. What a peaceful evening..
Now, let’s talk about Nyepi celebration stages. Three day before Nyepi, Balinese does Melasti. This activity is to clean the statues as the symbol that help to concentrate the mind to be closer to the God in the water sources such as lake, river, etc.
One day before Nyepi, it called Tawur Kesanga. All Balinese does the ceremony, praying for the safety and also do the Ngerupuk parade and the Ogoh-ogoh (the monsters made by Balinese as the symbol of evil’s spirit) carnival. The Ogoh-ogoh monsters are surrounding our environment which have to be got rid of from our lives. The monsters will be carried around the land after sunset and be buried by the beach at the end. Its the symbol of land’s purification.
Then the next day is Nyepi Day where every street in Bali is very quiet. There are nobody doing their normal daily activities. Pecalangs (the traditional Balinese security man) control and check the street security. The Pecalangs’ job is to control the street and also to stop any activities that disturb Nyepi Day. No traffic is allowed at all, no cars, no people, and everyone has to stay in their own houses. Light is kept to a minimum or not at all, the radio or TV’s volume is turned down and nobody works on this day. Nyepi day starts from 6am until the next 6am (24 hours).
Today (one day after Nyepi Day) called Ngembak Geni. It is the day when the Balinese usually visit the relatives to forgive each other..
Basicly from the religion and the culture’s point of view, Nyepi Day is meant to be a day of self introspection and meditation to purify our heart. Nyepi day is one of the unique celebrations in Bali, most probably the biggest one yet has made Bali as the attractive island with its magnificent culture.