Sunday, March 26, 2017


Well, we're coming up again on Nyepi Day in Bali. I think I write something similar to this every year. It is not a day that I look forward to, any more than I look forward to cabin fever. It's a day that I get through. That said, I hear that there are people who actually come to Bali especially for Nyepi, the day of silence and meditation.  

Nyepi is a Balinese "Day of Silence" that is commemorated every Isakawarsa (Saka new year) according to the Balinese calendar. It is a Hindu celebration mainly celebrated in Bali, Indonesia. Nyepi, a public holiday in Indonesia, is a day of silence, fasting and meditation for the Balinese. The day following Nyepi is also celebrated as New Year's Day.[1][2] 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.

Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, Nyepi is a day reserved for self-reflection, and as such, anything that might interfere with that purpose is restricted. The main restrictions are no electricity in the form of lights, televisions, computers, machinery and so on; no working; no entertainment or pleasure; no traveling; and, for some, no talking or eating at all. The effect of these prohibitions is that Bali's usually bustling streets and roads are empty, there is little or no 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 men 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.

So, as pointed out in the article, everyone in Bali must observe Nyepi whether they like it or not, whether they are Hindu or not, and so on. For me, this means stocking up and videos and snacks (and candles) before the day strikes. I do hear, however, that this year the Internet will be turned off as well, which will mean no videos, since my laptop has no disk drive (I watch online these days). So I may just end up hibernating like a bear. 

As usual, my wife is out of Bali on this day. Curious that. Coincidence? I think that, in the last six years, she has only been here for one Nyepi. But that's okay. She doesn't do well with silence and meditation. Or sitting still. Best for all that she will be in Java till the day after. 

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