Nyepi is one of the most important days in the ancient Balinese calendar and marks the start of the Hindu New Year for the island. It is known as a ‘Day of Silence’ where the island’s inhabitants will use the day as a time for reflection on the year ahead.
The Balinese spend the weeks leading up to Nyepi making huge creatures of papier mache and fabric called ogoh ogoh, a giant puppet in symbolizing demons. Ogoh-ogoh are usually made to look as terrifying as possible, with their bodies deformed and faces distorted. Some, with claws, fangs, and or eyes that glow red.
The ideal tradition would be, on the day before Nyepi the ogoh ogoh are paraded through the town’s street do a competition on which Ogoh ogoh looks the most captivating. Before it gets dark, they return to their village ceremoniously burn the puppet, a tradition that symbolising ridding evil from the village for the upcoming year.
This year, as many parts of the world are taking actions to minimize the spread of COVID-19; from advising social distancing, work from home, self-isolation, to complete lock down, the Ogoh-ogoh parade are not to be celebrated as usual as local government suggests.
On the day of Nyepi itself, for 24 hrs straight:
There are four main Nyepi prohibitions which are practiced by the Hindus; Amati Geni (no fire, light, electricity), Amati Karya (no working), Amati Lelunganan (no travelling), Amati Leanguan (Fasting and no entertainment).
These rules create a peaceful surrounding where we can unplug, relax, and actually reconnect with self and people in our home.
The belief is, by doing all the above, we are tricking the evil to think that the island is empty… so that they may leave.
Here’s some quick information on what not to do during Silent Day.
- Do not go out onto the street:Everyone is required to stay inside the premises in which they reside on Nyepi. There is no traffic on the roads or people on the streets.
- No motor vehicles may be used:With the exception of emergency services.
- Keep sound and voice at minimum: Rule of thumb; no one outside your room should be able to hear you.
- No light:Pray for a clear sky so you’ll see the stars!
- No electricity:This rule is considered to be the most flexible as you can still use electricity as long as people cannot see it from the outside of your house. But of course, remember to keep sound at minimum.
- Store food for two days: But no need to overdo it. Just make sure your staples, gas, are in good stock.
- Do a Marathon: the movie kind of marathon.
- Read, meditate, paint, or any other hobbies that are sometimes being put aside because we are simply too busy.
- Enjoy the sound of the nature thanking you for the rest that we are giving