Celebrating Hari Raya Nyepi 2019
Firstly according to custom, the arrival of Spring is the time of year when the Lord of Hell sends all the devils to Bali, who must then be cleared out to purify the island before the new year begins.
Today we witnessed this phenomenon that people run through the streets of villages and towns, with their faces painted, making as much noise as they possibly can.
The evil spirits are driven away by doing so (we just buy and incredible amount of fireworks; in the Netherlands we spent some 70 million euro to chase away the evil spirits of 2019) who make massive papier-mache effigies of the evil spirits called ‘Ogoh Ogoh’. The Ogoh Ogoh are then paraded through towns and villages while people with their faces painted make as much noise as they possibly can to scare the monsters away. In the evening the effigies are ceremoniously burnt, followed by dancing, drinking feasting and generally unabashed partying.
This noisy, brash festival is then followed by Nyepi, the Balinese “Day of Silence” also known as Seclusion Day. Nyepi, marks the start of the Balinese Hindu Saka New Year and the arrival of spring. Beginning at 6 am and lasting until 6 am the following day, Nyepi is a day intended for self-reflection and anything that might disturb this is not allowed.
This means no cooking or fires, no entertainment, no travelling and no work of any kind is permitted.
On Nyepi, the usually busy streets of Bali fall silent and even though Nyepi is a Hindu festival, non-Hindu residents of Bali will also observe the day of silence out of respect for their fellow citizens. Tourists are free to do what they want inside their hotels but nobody is permitted onto the beaches or streets. The airport in Bali will also be closed for Nyepi and telecommunications companies even switch off internet services for a 24 hour period.
It’s going to be fun tomorrow!
Please note that the photograph at the top of this blog is taken in Surabaya and is the eldest Chinese Buddhist temple in the region.