Nyepi is a Hindu celebration that is observed by all Balinese. It is also known as the “Day of Silence” and marks the start of the Balinese New Year. Before Nyepi, there are several important rituals and ceremonies that take place in Bali.
Melasti: The Purification Ceremony Before Nyepi
Two days before Nyepi, the Balinese people start to prepare for the celebration by performing a series of cleansing rituals and ceremonies. This activity is known as the “Melasti” ceremony. The purpose of this ceremony is to cleanse and purify the mind, body, and soul, and to ask for forgiveness for any wrongdoings.
During Melasti, Balinese people will gather at the beach or beside a river to perform a purification ritual by washing themselves and their sacred objects, such as statues and offerings, in holy water. This is usually done early in the morning, and the procession can be quite colourful and lively, with people dressed in traditional Balinese attire.
Pengrupukan Day: Cleansing the Island of Negative Energies
After the Melasti ceremony, the Balinese people will start to prepare for the Nyepi celebration itself. This includes Pengrupukan Day, a Hindu ritual that takes place on the day before Nyepi. Pengrupukan Day is also known as “Tawur Kesanga” or “Bhuta Yajna,” and it is a time when the Balinese people seek to purify the island of evil spirits and negative energies before the start of the new year.
Ogoh-Ogoh: Burning the Effigy of Demons
The procession usually ends at a central location, where a night time ceremony featuring the “ogoh-ogoh” is performed. The ogoh-ogoh is a giant statue representing demons and negative energies, and the noisy parading through the streets and burning of the effigy is believed to symbolise the elimination of these negative forces from the island.
Catur Brata Penyepian: The Four Prohibitions of Nyepi
During Nyepi, there are customs and regulations that we need to be aware of. This refers to Catur Brata Penyepian which is a set of four prohibitions that the Balinese people observe during Nyepi. These four prohibitions are:
Amati Geni: Prohibition of Fire and Lights – During Nyepi, Balinese people are not allowed to light fires, turn on lights, or use electronic devices. The purpose of this prohibition is to eliminate any kind of pollution or disturbance that may disrupt the peace of Nyepi.
Amati Karya: Prohibition of Work and Activity – Balinese people are not allowed to work or engage in any activity on Nyepi. This includes cooking, driving, and any other form of work. The purpose of this prohibition is to encourage self-reflection, meditation, and introspection.
Amati Lelungan: Prohibition of Travel – Balinese people are not allowed to leave their homes or travel during Nyepi. The purpose of this prohibition is to maintain silence and tranquillity throughout the day.
Amati Lelanguan: Prohibition of Entertainment – Balinese people are not allowed to engage in any form of entertainment on Nyepi. This includes playing music, watching TV, and other forms of entertainment. The purpose of this prohibition is to encourage self-reflection and spiritual practices.
Observing Nyepi: Respecting Balinese Customs and Regulations
It’s essential to cooperate with the local authorities and follow their instructions to ensure a peaceful and successful Nyepi celebration. By preparing for Nyepi Day in advance and respecting the customs and regulations, we can enjoy a unique and meaningful cultural experience in Bali. (Anik Kristina)