Nyepi The Silence day
Every religion, culture or places in the world has their own way to define and celebrate the new year. For example, China has the lunar year, Muslims in the world have their Muharram year, and many of the people around the world use masehi calendar, celebrate the New Year on January 1.
The same thing happened in Bali, Indonesia. But the Balinese use many different calendar systems. They have adopted the masehi calendar for the purpose of business, government and everything which is formal.
But for something that is traditional, holy days, temple anniversaries, celebrations, sacred dances, building houses, wedding ceremonies, death and cremation processes and other activities that define Balinese life, they have two calendar systems. The first is pawukon (from the word “wuku” which means weeks) and Sasih (which means moon).
Wuku consists of 30 items start from Sinta, the first wuku and ending with Watugunung and every wuku consist of 7 days. Pawukon, from Java in the 14th century, and that is still made as the guidelines for all the ritual activities in Bali. Sasih, a native of India, is a twelve-month calendar every month that it consists of 35 days was also made as the guidelines for life in Bali.
the culture of the west opened the New Year with revelry, but, on the contrary, the Balinese open their New Year in silence. This is called Nyepi, a day of silence, which fell the day after “Tilem Kesanga”.
Nyepi is a day to set up and maintain the balance of nature. It is based on the story of when King Kaniska I of India’s best known for his wisdom and tolerance for Hindu and Buddhist communities. In that age, he did Dharma Yatra (journey to promote and spread Hinduism) to Indonesia and introduce the Saka year.
Hindus in Bali celebrated day of Nyepi as follows:
Melasti or Mekiyis or Melis (three days before Nyepi)
Melasti is meant to clean pratima or statues or pralingga (sculpture), or symbols that help to concentrate the mind in order to become closer to God during praying. This ceremony aims to clean up the whole universe and its contents, and also to take Amrita (the source for eternal life) from the sea or other source of water (such lakes, rivers, etc.).
Three days before Nyepi, all the statues of the gods of all the temples in the village were taken symbolically into rivers or the sea to be cleaned with a ceremony. There, the symbols of god cleaned with water as a symbol of the god Varuna, and brought back to the each temple.
Tawur Kesanga (the day before Nyepi)
Exactly one day before Nyepi, all villages in Bali hold a ceremony to exorcise the devil held in the main street of the village, as a meeting place of demons. They usually make Ogoh-ogoh (monster or a giant statue as a symbol of evil spirits or Butha Kala made of bamboo), which will be paraded around the village before sunset.
Ogoh-ogoh symbolize the evil spirits surrounding our environment that must be removed from our lives. Carnival process itself held all over Bali simultaneously before the sunsets on the process followed by all levels of society in every village.
This process is usually accompanied by “bleganjur” (traditional music) .It is also intended In order to create a harmonious relationship between man and God, man and man, and man and their environment, so Tawur Kesanga done at every level of society, from each home. At night, the Hindus celebrate Ngerupuk, making noises of bamboo and burn Ogoh-ogoh as the end of the process Tawur Kesanga as a symbol of Hindus could get rid of “bhuta kala” or demons within themselves and the environment.
Nyepi The Silence day
On Nyepi day itself, each street is empty there is no normal activities of their daily. Each Hindus will do “Catur Brata Penyepian” which means four restrictions that should be done during Nyepi, namely;
1. Amati Geni: do not start a fire
2. Amati karya: do not working
3. Amati lelungaan: do not traveling
4. Amati lelanguan: do not party
At the time of Nyepi, there will be “Pecalang” (traditional Balinese security forces) which controls and examine road safety. Pecalang wearing black uniforms and “Udeng or headband” (traditional hats Bali typically used in ceremonies) . Pecalang, whose main task is not only to control the security of the road, but also to stop activities that disturb Nyepi (but still tolerate an emergency ). Specifically for tourist places, the socialization of Nyepi day will done a few weeks before Nyepi and involving the hotel management.
People who are Non-Hindu in Bali asked to honor this great day with not be outside of their home. For each party who violates these provisions, will be penalized which are all set by agreement of local villages. Whereas at night remains prohibited to turn on the lights until the next morning.
The philosophy of the Nyepi for Hindus is a good time for introspection, closer to God, closer to family and to the island of Bali in general is on the day of Nyepi, when all activity stopped, no pollution, we provide the opportunity earth for breathing, a short break before returning activity.
Ngembak Geni (the day after Nyepi)
Ngembak is the day when Catur Berata Penyepian completed and Hindu societies usually visit to forgive each other and do Dharma Canthi. Dharma Canthi is reading Sloka, Kekidung, Kekawin, etc. (ancient scripts containing songs and lyrics).
Nyepi day to make Bali a unique island with a very rich tradition values of divinity.