On Nyepi day in Bali, the atmosphere is very quiet and quiet. No human came out of his house. No vehicle sound. No activity. Bali is so quiet for a day. The absence of activity during Nyepi inspired the United Nations to inaugurate World Silent Day (WSD) which is celebrated every 21 March. This date was chosen as a symbol of the transition to new life, when the sun is at the vernal equinox and will move from the equator to the north. WSD invites the people to contribute to the earth to reduce pollution, energy consumption, natural resources, and others in a day.
Bali is already famous for its very unique customs and culture. One of them is the Nyepi celebration. Nyepi Day is the day of the turn of the Saka year which is celebrated once a year according to the Balinese calendar. Nyepi has a philosophy in which Hindus ask God, Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa, to purify Buana Alit (humans) and Buana Agung (nature and all its contents).
Nyepi means lonely or quiet. On Nyepi Day, you are not allowed to carry out activities as usual, such as going out of the house, turning on the lights, working, and so on. With the aim of creating a quiet atmosphere, quiet from the hustle and bustle of life and quiet from all lust or greed of human nature, to purify Bhuwana Agung (the universe) and Bhuwana Alit (humans). It will be Silence Day in Bali for hours.
The Nyepi celebrations were held a few days earlier, starting with the Melasti, Mecaru, and Pengrupukan ceremonies. Then followed the peak of Nyepi Day itself. And finally called Ngembak Geni.
1. Melasti ceremony or can be called Melis, is held a few days before Nyepi. During Melasti, various pretima, or sacred objects, will be purified by bringing them to the nearest beach, river, or lake. This sacred object is carried above the head, accompanied by the sound of gamelan music. And followed by the community.
2. Mecaru or Tawur, is a ceremony held in every house, village, sub-district, and so on. By making offerings that are offered to the Bhuta Kala (negative things), with the aim of not disturbing human life.
3. The Pengrupukan ceremony is carried out by making a torch and walking around the house environment. Covering houses and yards with rice of various colors, and banging or hitting any objects, such as gongs, to produce loud noises. This stage is carried out so that it is expected to expel the Bhuta Kala from the house, yard, and surrounding environment. At the village level, the Ogoh-ogoh procession is held, which is the embodiment of Bhuta Kala, which has a negative character. Paraded around the village and then burned, the aim is that the negative things disappear and do not interfere with human life.
4. On Tilem Kesanga, Nyepi Day arrives. No activities as usual. Nyepi fasting is carried out for 24 hours, namely Catur Brata Penyepian which consists of :
- Amati Geni, which is not allowed to use or light a fire and not inflame lust.
- Amati Karya, namely not doing physical work activities but increasing spiritual cleansing activities.
- Observe Lelungan, which is not traveling but doing introspection.
- Observe Lelanguan, which is not to inflame fun/entertainment but to focus on Ida Sanghyang Widhi
According to Hindus, all things that are transitional are always preceded by dark symbols. So that Nyepi Day can be said to contain the meaning of the day of self-purification (for humans) and the universe. Throw away all the dirt or all the negative things that have happened in the past to welcome the new year.
5.Ngembak Geni is held the day after Nyepi, as the last series of Saka New Year celebrations. It is carried out by conducting visits between family, neighbors, and acquaintances. Forgive each other in order to create a harmonious and peaceful life. With a new atmosphere, a new life will begin with a pure white heart.
Watch here Ogoh Ogoh Festival 2023 in Depasar Bali
Nyepi is expected to bring peace and holiness to welcome the upcoming Saka New Year.