Bali is the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia. The island has many attractions including beaches, nature, food and cultural shows. Balinese culture is still very strong. Most Balinese are Hindu. If you’re planning a trip to Bali, make sure Nyepi, the Day of Silence, is not while you’re there. During Nyepi, no one can be outside. In India, Nyepi is called Ugadi. Nyepi is once a year on Isakawarsa (Saka New Year), according to the Balinese calendar. Even Nyepi has been a national holiday in Indonesia since 1983. Nyepi is 24 hours, lasting from 6 am until 6 am the next day. During this time, there can be no activities. The international airport is closed, and there is no television or radio broadcasting, except in case of emergency. The main objective of Nyepi is self-reflection. Nyepi celebration consists of several rituals, namely:
- Melasti (Melis/Mekiyis)
Melasti is derived from the word mala meaning dung and asti meaning dispose/destroy. This ritual aims to clean up all the dirt from the body and mind, as well as ceremonial tools belonging to Balinese temples. This ritual is performed 3–4 days beforehand near the sea.
- Tawur Agung / Tawur Kesanga or Pengerupukan
Tawur is held the day before Nyepi at noon. The word tawur means pay or refund and the purpose is to create balance with God, nature, and mankind. The ritual is done to appease Bhuta, so the bhuta will not disturb the Balinese. That night, there is a ritual procession. Children carry flame torches to light bonfires to burn ogoh-ogoh, which are demonic statues made of bamboo and paper symbolizing negative elements or malevolent spirits.
There are several rituals on Nyepi. They consists of:
– Amati Geni: No fire or light, including no electricity
– Amati Karya: No working
– Amati Lelunganan: No traveling
– Amati Lelanguan: Fasting and no self-entertainment
This is supposed to help the Hindu community learn self-control, so the Balinese can re-focus and concentrate through contemplation and meditation.
- Ngembak Geni
Ngembak Geni is derived from the word ngembak which means to flow and geni which means fire, the symbol of Brahma (God the Creator). On Ngembak Geni Hindus are supposed to forgive each other and prepare for the new year. This ritual ends Nyepi, and people can go back to their daily activities.
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