Balinese Hindhu Nyepi Holiday 2006
It is locally believed that once a year all the evil spirits of the unseen world roam the skies searching for a place to descend and wreak havoc. With the island shrouded in silence and noise and light kept to a bare minimum, Bali holds little interest and the negative forces pass it by for another year.
The Balinese Hindus use two kinds of calendar systems, the Saka calendar system and the 210-day Pawukon system. The Saka calendar is a lunar system and each of the 12 lunar months ends on a new month. The calendar begins the day after the new moon that ends the ninth lunar month. This always coincides with the Gregorian March. The Balinese Hindus 'celebrate' the coming of the new year of saka calendar in silence, which is called Nyepi Day. The Saka year numbering system is 78 years behind the Gregorian year. The Saka calendar came from India.
Nyepi Day is the culmination of several days that follow this event. This year, Nyepi Day occurs on 30 March 2006. On 27 March 2005, the Balinese Hindus gathered all sacred apparatus that symbolize the supremacy of God in the world in the temple village. The following day, either on 28 or 29 March 2006, is the melasti day. All effigies of the gods from all the village temples have been taken to the river in long and colorful ceremonies. There they have been bathed by the god Baruna before being taken back to residence in their shrines of origin. The ceremony is a general purification of the village and its deities. Everyone also purifies himself. On the day after melasti, Pengerupukan, offering is given. It is meant to shed the black world and any disturbing factors away. All villages also hold a large exorcist ceremony at the main village crossroad, the meeting place of the demons. All the demons of Bali world were let loose on the road in a carnival of fantastic monsters, the Ogoh-ogoh. The Ogoh-ogoh is the manifestation of anything that disturbs human live. It could be a person, an object or anything.
As a religious event of Balinese Hindus, Nyepi is a symbolical replay of these philosophical principles. The world is 'clean' in the beginning of the year. The Balinese Hindus do not celebrate the new year with lavish party, instead they celebrate the coming of the new year with meditation. No activities are allowed to take place. These mandatory religious prohibitions include no pleasure (amati lelangon), no traffic (amati lelungan), no fire (amati geni) and no work (amati karya). These prohibitions aim at controlling oneself and submission to God. Everybody has to stay in the individual houses. No lights in the house, no sounds of radio and no works, just keep silence. It is totally silence.
The anti-climax of the meditation is on the following day, which is called Ngembak Geni, where the people are happy and bless their success of controlling themselves. It is also the day of get-togetherness and family gathering. Should you be in Bali or first arrive in Bali on the occasion of Nyepi Day, on the Gregorian calendar, this year it occurs on 30 March 2006.
You must take the following instructions into account :
- The silence begins at 6 a.m. of 30 March 2006 and the next day (31 March 2006) at 6 a.m.
- The airport will be totally closed on 30 March 2006, so there will be neither arrival nor departure in the airport on that day. All connecting airports around the globe have been informed about it in advance. If you take surface trip, you should not plan your arrival in Bali on 30 March 2006, there is no activity in the bus terminal and most importantly there will be no traffic on that day in the whole Bali island.
- You should stay inside your house. Do not go out of the house. Should you need food or anything to buy, do it on the previous day because on Nyepi Day all shops do not open.
- Since all activities throughout the island are held, put your plan before or ahead of Nyepi Day.
- Should you want to make a light or play the music, keep it minimum, no light and sounds are allowed.
- Don't make any noise while you are at home.
- Across Bali, the activities are allowed only in emergency rooms and maternity section of hospitals and the arrival section of airport. Any emergencies are taken into consideration and tolerated. Hotel is in the service but no outdoor activities are allowed and the guests are asked to stay inside the hotel. The whole island is in silence.
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