Every year, the Hindu community celebrates New Year’s with a difference, for the Balinese this is called the “Caka Year”, unlike most people who celebrate New Year in revelry, the Balinese celebrate their New Year in silence, it’s called “Nyepi” day, Nyepi is derived from the word ‘sepi” means silence. This year, Nyepi day falls on March 17, 2018.
Nyepi is a day to make and keep the balance of nature, from the religious and philosophy point of view, Nyepi is meant to be a day of self-introspection and the Balinese Hindu community also celebrates Nyepi by fasting and meditating. Nyepi starts from 6 am until 6 am the next morning, the day is reserved self-reflection, anything that might interfere with that purposes is restricted. The main restrictions are: “Amati Geni” (no fire or light), “Amati Karya” (no working), “Amati lelunganan” (no traveling) and “Amati lelanguan” (fasting and no revelry/entertainment). During Nyepi day, there’s no activity in the island, Bali’s streets and roads are empty, there’s no noise from TVs and radios and everybody stays inside their homes. The only people to be seen outdoors are the “Pecalang”, the traditional security men who patrol the streets to ensure no one is on the roads. The only exceptions granted are for emergency vehicles carrying those with life-threatening conditions and women about to give birth.
Just like other Balinese Hindu’s holidays, there are pre and post days. The day before Nyepi is called “Pengrupukan”. On this day, “Bhuta Yajnya” ritual is held in order to vanquish the negative elements. Ogoh-ogoh (statues made of bamboo and paper symbolizing negative elements) is paraded around the village, after the parade, the “Pengrupukan” ritual takes place that involves burning the ogoh-ogoh. The day after Nyepi is called “Ngembak Geni”, it is performed for all Balinese to forgive each other and welcome the new days to come and the usual life of the Balinese starts again.