Hi guys and welcome to my balinese adventure again !
This time I am going to tell you about the Balinese New Year call "Nyepi" or "Silent Day", what they do duing this celebration and why they celebrate it.
Basically, Nyepi or "Silent Day" is a Hindu celebration that the balinese people commemorate every New Year around March 17(it can depends on the balinese calendar which isn't totally at the same date every year). . Nyepi, which is a public holiday in Bali, is a day of silence, fasting and meditation for the locals. It's ultimately the quietest day of the year and all the people living or staying in Bali have to follow a set of local rules.
From 6 am until 6 am the morning after, Nyepi is reserved for our self-reflection and anything that might interfere with that purpose is restricted. The main restrictions are no lighting fires at all (even the lights from the cellphones), no working activity, no any kind of entertainment or pleasure is allowed, everyone is supposed to stay at home, no traveling, no electricity, you are not allowed to make noises and, for some people, no talking or eating at all. That is why usually, during Nyepi the balinese economy activity stops and the main effects are that the streets and the roads are empty and the only people seen outside are the Pecalang, it's the local "police" for Silent Day who patrol the streets to ensure the prohibitions are being followed.
Besides the fact that Nyepi is primarily a Hindu holiday, non-Hindu residents and tourists are'nt exempt from these restrictions. But they are free to do whatever they want inside they hotel. They just aren't allowed to go outside at the beach or on the Street. Even the airport is closed during this day.
The only exceptions allowed during Silent Day are for emergency cars responding to life-threatening conditions and or women that are about to give birth.
On the day after Nyepi, called Ngembak Geni, social activity can start again and families and friends are gathering to ask forgiveness and to perform religious rituals together. Fires and electricity are allowed again.
Before the Silence, some rituals are celebrated usually 3 days before with colourfull precessions known as the Melasti Pilgrimages. During these ceremony they elaborate purification of evrything.
Next the day before Nyepi there is the The Bhuta Yajna Ritual that is performed in order to vanquish the negative elements (or spirit) and create balance with God, Mankind, and Nature. It consits of making a "Ogoh-Ogoh", demonic statues made of bamboo and paper symbolizing negative elements or evil spirits, showing it at the village's parade and burn it which symbolised that the veli spirits are gone. Usually the Ogoh-Ogoh is supposed to be scary.
Now you know why The Balinese New Year is called "Silent Day" and how they celebrate it !