Nyepi : Bali’s Earth Hour, but only this is 24 hours instead of one hour!
Tomorrow on March 31, 2014 we will celebrate Nyepi, which is called “The Silence Day” in Bali. A day when we are Hindu people stay in silence for self reflection and introspection. A day when we are not allow to do anything or going anywhere. A day when there is no tv broadcasting at all. A day when we have time to gather together with the whole family because nobody works or go to school or having any activities. A day when we will completely have to take a rest and a relaxing day. A day without polution. A day without noise. A day without car. So once in a year the air in Bali will be renew. Once in a year whole Bali land will be cleaned. Ourself will be cleaned.
Nyepi is commemorated every Isakawarsa (Saka new year) according to the Balinese calendar. 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. 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 lighting fires (and lights must be kept low); 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 of Bali observe the day of silence as well, out of respect for their fellow citizens. Even tourists are not exempt; although 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 carrying those with life-threatening conditions and women about to give birth.
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.