Last week I was having my holiday in Bali with my fellow photographer friends. At first we do not have anything planned and we so happen to be lucky enough to join the celebration of Nyepi Day. Recently we started to celebrate Earth Hour where we off our lights for 1 hour. But after experiencing Nyepi Day in Bali, that is nothing. The whole Bali were totally shutdown including TV Station, airport, no lights allowed and total blackout. To know more read further.
Nyepi is a Balinese “Day of Silence” that is commemorated every Isaawarsa (Saka new year) according to the Balinese calendar (in 2012, it fell on March 23rd). It is a day of silence, fasting, and meditation. The day following Nyepi is also celebrated as New year.
It started from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, Nyepi is a day reserved for self-reflection and as such, anything that might interfere with that purpose is restricted. The main restrictions are: no lighting fires (and lights must be kept low); no working; no entertainment or pleasure; no traveling; and for some, no talking or eating at all. Even in the hotel, at 6pm the staff start knocking the guests room door and came in with the notice of the Nyepi day. They then start to switch off the main lights in our room and keep the lights minimum. All the thick curtains were used to ensure no stray lights getting out from our room. At 7pm I take a peep out and the whole hotel and street were pitch black. Not even a stray light can be seen.
The effect of these prohibitions is that Bali’s usually bustling streets and roads are empty, there is little or no noise from TVs and radios, and few signs of activity are seen even inside homes. The only people to be seen outdoors are the Pecalang, traditional security men who patrol the streets to ensure the prohibitions are being followed.
Although Nyepi is primarily a Hindu holiday, non-Hindu residents of Bali observe the day of silence as well, out of respect for their fellow citizens. Even tourists are not exempt; although free to do as they wish inside their hotels, no one is allowed onto the beaches or streets, and the only airport in Bali remains closed for the entire day. The only exceptions granted are for emergency vehicles carrying those with life-threatening conditions and women about to give birth.
On the day after Nyepi, known as Ngembak Geni, social activity picks up again quickly, as families and friends gather to ask forgiveness from one another, and to perform certain religious rituals together.
Ogoh-ogoh are statues built for the Ngrupuk parade, which takes place on the eve of Nyepi day in Bali, Indonesia. Ogoh-ogoh normally have form of mythological beings, mostly demons. As with many creative endeavours based on Balinese Hinduism, the creation of Ogoh-ogoh represents spiritual aims inspired by Hindu philosophy.