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What is the essence of religious practices in Bali? Here are things you can expect during the Nyepi festival in Bali, the day of silence, or the Balinese New Year celebration.
The beauty of traveling to Bali lies in its potent religious practices. As home to the majority of Hindu devotees in Indonesia, Balinese Hindus have a unique way to respect their Gods and Goddesses. They have a special lunar calendar to help to remind them of the upcoming holy days to commemorate in Bali. They believe that the special occasions would be the days when the high spirits (including their ancestors) would leave their heavenly abode to follow along with the celebrations and bless them. Therefore, it would take days and even weeks for them to prepare the offerings. The practices have been there since ancient times and they trust that abandoning the set traditions will, later on, result in disasters and bad omens.
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Balinese hold the belief in one Great God they named Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa. He manifests into many forms of Gods and Goddesses that own their roles in different aspects. They also acknowledge the Three Supreme Gods, Brahma, Wisnu, Siwa. They are the symbols of the Gods of creator, nurturer, and destroyer like what’s been practiced in India.
The way the Balinese show their love to their Gods is through arts and a holy day for basically everything of their God’s creations (for living beings and the non-livings). They have specific lunar dates to address their gratefulness for God’s blessing in pets, plantations, metal objects, and more to cover.
It will be extraordinary to witness how they perform the sacred ritual on these major holy days in Bali. You’ll be amazed and left wondering ‘why they do this and ‘why they do that. You’ll be in awe to understand that every single action they do means something and it will always be for the greater good.
Do you know that there is a day where you can have an electricity-rest in 24 hours in Bali? Yes, you’re right. It’s the Nyepi Festival in Bali. This could be your reference for the perfect time to visit Bali.
Balinese celebrate New Year differently; it is on the Silence Day of Nyepi. The resident is used to the 24-hour silence, darkness, and not going around during the Nyepi festival in Bali. For the tourists, well, it might interrupt their traveling agenda to their favorite beaches and attraction. But, let us tell you how magical the night and day are during Nyepi. You cannot find the occasion happening in any country except for Bali. Public facilities and private businesses are off duties and you will not find any vehicles roaming around the streets. This is almost unreal, right? You may not turn on lamps and make noises as well. All that remains is just a peaceful silence and the night sky’s looking so bright with stars above.
READ MORE: SILENT DAY “NYEPI” 2020 GUIDANCE
Before arriving on the day of silence, the night before, there will be a parade of Ogoh-Ogoh. Normally, the locals will be crowding the streets to watch the gigantic statues made out of light-weighted materials. They consist of bamboo, paper, Styrofoam, and many more and then shaped to resemble mystical beings to represent evils. There are hives of local communities in Bali. Each of them will make one every year and the youngsters will carry it on their back to go around their area at dusk with some traditional Balinese music blasting the night alongside their joyous screaming.
Before the parade, houses will carry out a ritual to ward off the evil that includes them calling out the evil spirits by constantly knocking on a kitchen appliance to make noises following one person smoking the house areas with burning palm leaves and the other splashing holy water and offerings too.
The locals believe that evil spirits are attracted to noises and fire that’s why when doing so, the persons will be followed by the evil spirits but then they will lead the evil to the front gate and put off the fire, stop the noises, and put the offerings on the ground.
When this happens, the evil spirits will be confused to find their way back to the house. The evil beings will be so busy to shelter in a new place until they see the ogoh-ogoh on the street sides. They will take the statues as their new houses then. Therefore, after the parade, they will burn the ogoh-ogoh. In Hinduism, fire is pure and holy. The aim in this case is to purify and balance out the evil in our surroundings. However, since the pandemic, ogoh-ogoh parade has been canceled.
Nyepi in Balinese lunar calendar falls on tilem kesanga. In 2021, it was held on Sunday, March 14 from 6 am until 6 am the next day. Pecalang local securities will guard the area to ensure everyone adheres to the prohibitions of the event. If you’re looking forward to it, in 2022, Nyepi will happen on March 3.
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