On March 3, 2022, Bali was silent, dark, and peaceful. In the night, a lot of people stare at the sky and see the clear dark blue sky with a bunch of stars that just appeared from where they cursed. Special for this one day, no one is able to get out of their house or hotel; this applies to all people in Bali, including tourists. All stores closed, and no vehicles were seen on the road. The combination of Balinese and Hinduism culture it’s called Nyepi, which is the day of silence.
Nyepi is commemorated once a year, that is, every Isakawarsa according to the Balinese calendar. The main purpose of Nyepi is to keep the natural balance of nature, including self-purification by doing the various rituals, prayers, fasting, meditating, and ceremonies. The story behind Nyepi is introduced from the Veda scriptures, where it tells that at the beginning of the century AD, India, and its surrounding always had a tribal inter-conflict and social crisis. After a lengthy dissension, the Caka tribe got their triumph under King Kanishka I, who was known for his wisdom and tolerance. King Kanishka I succeeded to unify a country which previously did not get along due to the differences in beliefs that existed between them. To celebrate the good things that happened under King Kanishka I, then the Day of Silence is created.
The majority of the population of Bali are Hinduism, so every year Balinese always greet Nyepi Day with joy and solemnity. Here are some facts about Nyepi Day that you need to know:
1) During Nyepi, Hinduism or even all people that stay in Bali are expected to be silent for 24 hours. For a whole day, you are not allowed to turn on the light, talk, go to school/work, do fun activities, or do the daily life things.
2) In Bali, during Nyepi Day, all the public services such as airports, public areas, and the others will be closed, but hospitals will still open.
3) About three or two days before Nyepi Day, Hindus will do the Melasti ceremony. For the Melasti ceremony, all prayer facilities in the temple (holy place) are paraded to the beach or lake to be cleaned or purified. After that, Hindus will pray together around the beach or lake. 4) The Ogoh-ogoh parade is the most awaited one. In this ritual, Hindus will spray the house and yard with gunpowder and beat any objects (usually gongs) to make a loud noise. Usually, the Ogoh-ogoh is depicted in the form of a giant doll made of paper and bamboo. Ogoh-ogoh is the embodiment of Bhuta Kala, who is paraded around the village and then burned over a bonfire with the goal to expel Bhuta Kala from the surrounding environment. Bhuta Kala means blind time, and it is a magical creature believed by the Balinese and Hindus to be creatures that inhabit the earth and have evil purposes.
That is the overall view of what is Nyepi Day and how Hindus in Bali celebrate it. IndoneSight is the series that I created as a platform to give you a view about Indonesia and also to introduce Indonesian culture to you all! So, if you have any questions, let’s have a discussion!
Good to know about Nyepi day in Bali. Palm Living. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2022.
The Jakarta Post. (n.d.). Bali to shut down over nyepi. The Jakarta Post. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
What happens on Nyepi Day? (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2022.
Guardian News and Media. (2017, March 27). Bali’s New Year’s Day – time to stay in, turn off the lights, and Keep Quiet. The Guardian. Retrieved March 29, 2022.