Nyepi commemorated every Isakawarsa (Saka new year) and is also known as the "Day of Silence". It is one of the important religious events in Balinese Hindu culture and marks the celebration of the New Year in the Hindu Lunar calendar. On this day, the youth of Bali practice the ceremony of Omed-omedan or 'The Kissing Ritual' to celebrate the new year. The same day celebrated in India as ugadi.
This year, Nyepi Day falls on Tuesday, 28th March 2017 starting from 6am until 6am the next day. An incredibly spiritual day to experience, it is reserved for self-reflection, and as such, anything that might interfere with that purpose is restricted.
During Nyepi Day certain things occur, which are very different to normal, Catur Brata Penyepian will be implemented:
1. NO TRAVELING (AMATI LELUNGAN):
- Ngurah Rai International Airport, Padang Bai Harbor and Gili Manuk Harbor will be closed
- Nobody is allowed in the streets
2. NO FIRE OR LIGHTS (AMATI GENI):
- The lights will be dimmed inside
- There will be no outdoor lighting
3. NO WORK OR PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES (AMATI KARYA):
- No activities are allowed including public school and market are closed
4. NO LAUGHTER / MAKING NOISE (AMATI LELANGUAN):
- The Hindu Balinese fast during this day
- Trying not to laugh or speak loud even inside houses.
This means that Bali's usually bustling streets and roads are empty, and there is very little 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 who patrol the streets to ensure the prohibitions are being followed.
Although Nyepi is primarily a Hindu holiday, non-Hindu residents and tourists are not exempt from the restrictions. Although they are 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 responding to life-threatening conditions and women about to give birth.
Some tips for those who are in Bali for Nyepi:
• Stock up on your favourite foods and drinks
• Read a good book & catch up on your sleep
• Stay inside the perimeter of your villa
• Practice yoga or meditate - it is highly recommended to take advantage of this dedicated self-reflection time
• Look up at the sky as the stars are our in full force
• DON'T be outside of your villa between the hours of 6am on Nyepi Day until 6am the next morning
• DON'T make loud noise or play music that others could hear
• DON'T use electricity unless it’s an emergency. Instead, utilise candles and really enjoy this incredible night.
What about after the Day of Silence? Are there any events?
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.