Cerebral Shangrila

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nyepi - Balinese New Year

How different can Bali and Balinese be? How about this for a sample - the new year (Nyepi) is celebrated as a day of silence, fasting, and meditation. Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, Nyepi is a day reserved for contemplation and as such, anything that might interfere with that purpose is restricted. The main restrictions are Amati Geni (no lighting fires); Amati Karya (no working); Amati Lelanguan (no entertainment or pleasure); and Amati Lelungan (no traveling); and for some, no talking or eating at all. The roads are completely deserted and the airport closes for 24 hours.

Why a new year is celebrated with silence and contemplation?

According to Balinese folklore, on this sacred day, after the eve’s festivities and rituals, the evil spirit is drove away from heaven by God. They are homeless now. They seek vengeance on those who drove them from paradise. These angry evil spirits roam the heavens seeking a new home in the world. The evil spirits take to the sky, their eyes wide open looking down at earth, especially Bali. However, they see nothing on the island because Balinese people do nothing on Nyepi and stay in their homes. The spirits think Bali is empty of people because there is no human activity. When they have seen enough, they fly off and Bali is safe for another year.

Today is Nyepi. Without much fanfare and ostentation, Bali is teaching the world the true meaning of "reflection" and " earth hour".

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