Balinese Hindu will celebrate the Saka calendar’s New Year’s Day, also known as Nyepi (Seclusion Day), by refraining from doing worldly business. They believe the Nyepi day creates and keeps the balance of nature.
During Nyepi, which will fall on March 28, Balinese Hindu will have to follow the four abstinence rules known as Catur Brata Penyepian. They consist of Amati Geni, or abstaining from creating fire or light, Amati Karya, or abstaining from work, Amati Lelungan, or abstaining from traveling outside their homes, and Amati Lelanguan, or abstaining from enjoyable activities.
Traditional guards patrol the streets to make sure people stay at home on Nyepi
The aim of all these abstinences is to guide Balinese people on entering a state of self-contemplation, meditation and evaluation of their deeds during the previous year, as well as praying for the best in the coming year.
As it is one of the biggest events on Bali, tourists or anyone aside from the island’s Hindu people can still respectfully enjoy this big day. Here some tips for those who will stay on the island during the Nyepi.
Schedule your arrival wisely
All access to enter and leave Bali will be closed for 24 hours during the Nyepi day. That includes access via airports and harbors to support the abstinence from creating light, working and traveling outside home.
To enjoy Bali during Nyepi day and observe the rituals of celebration means you have to arrive two or three days prior to the big day.
Besides the arrival time, the departure date should be a consideration as well. You are able to leave the island after the Nyepi day.
Enjoy the preceding celebrations
The days before Nyepi will be filled with some unique rituals and parades as part of the occasion, such as the Ogoh-Ogoh parade and the melasti (pilgrims to the sea) ritual.
You can see parades of people walking to the nearest beach to do the melasti ritual three days prior to Nyepi. This ceremony is aimed at cleaning nature and its contents at the nearest water sources to the villages. In doing so, people carry ornaments from their temples and shrines to be washed by waters from the sea.
On the eve of Nyepi, also called the Pengerupukan, there will be festive carnivals on public streets. Pengerupukan includes carrying around papier-mâché constructs known as Ogoh-Ogoh. They will be paraded along the streets to scare away demons.
Prepare entertainment and food supplies
It will be hard to find fun activities during Seclusion Day as people are not allowed to do activities outside their homes or hotels.
If you are not staying at a hotel, preparing for entertainment is as important as preparing a food supply at home. Most markets will be full of customers as the date gets closer to Nyepi, so plan your shopping time wisely.
Although electricity will still be running in most places, you could try having fun with traditional games that don’t need electric power, or stock up on some movies to watch, but do keep the volume low.
Keep a list of emergency contacts
Even though no outdoor activity is allowed on the island, emergency services are still available; the hospital will keep working normally during the Nyepi day.
To handle any emergency situation, it would be better if you take note of emergency numbers, such as of nearby hospitals, or fire stations.
Stay at a hotel
In accordance to the abstinence rules, the Balinese stay at home during Nyepi. It would also be harder for visitors and non-Hindu people to do some activities outside the places where they stay, so many of them end up booking rooms at hotels as most of them offer great Nyepi package deals for tourists to celebrate the event.
Aside from these limitations, guests will still have access to the lagoon pool, spa, health club and kids club, as well as have free Wi-Fi throughout the resort.
Source: jakpost.travel / Edna Tarigan