Balinese Hindhu Nyepi Holiday 2007
Ogoh - ogoh ridding the demonds on Bali's new Year eve.........
Monday, 19th March 2007 at 7:27PM at 7:27PM in Category Article
Nyepi - the darkest night in the new moon. The night before is filled with strange spirits and weird demonical effigies known as Ogoh - Ogoh. Long talons. masses of wild hair depict rangda the witch and other well know mythical characters or even newer demons, who roam the streets, twissting and turring on hugo bamboo frames, sometimes so big and heavy it takes almost a whole banjar to carry them.
Ogoh ogoh parades take place between 7-9 pm throuhout Bali. The aim is to confuse the bad spirits of the island. At the end of the processions, the effigies are burned in big fires.
During the solemn, powerful hours, priests throuhout Bali will perform a tawur agung, praying and ritually sacrificing a variety of animals to appease the demonds and honor the gods in an attempt to harmonize the conflicting universal power of good and evil. While this ritual take places towards midday in the village temple, usully close to intersections, on thet night onother from the cleansing ritual called ngerupuk
turns almost the whole island into a lively night of carnival. During the ngerupuk procession, village youths carry dozens of giant effigies, known as ogoh-ogoh. Accompanied by burning torch light and gamelan music, beleganjur, on the eve of Nyepi becomes a not to be missed event in Bali.
Nyepi follows the next day. Bali's new year is marked by a day of silence when few people dare to venture outside their homes - part of and old tradition that is intended to confuse any remaining bad spirit, making them think that the island is deserted and they too, should leave. No one, not even Bali's treasured visitors is allowed to go out on this Day of silence which this year, falls on monday, March 19th. Bali in its entirety is deadly silent for the whole day. people stay at home. There is no traffic, no work, and no entertaiment, and no lights illuminate the night. Shop and office are closed and event the international airport shuts down, to allow the Balinese absorve the Hindu Caka New Year soberly and with full attention. In the villages and on the beaches, security pecalang patrol the streets to ensure quietness. Self-intropection or meditation are suggested ways to fill the time during this Hindu New Year. For tourist Nyepi can mean time to catch up on reading or sleep.
Several important ceremonies precede Nyepi. Two or three days before, apurification ceremony (melasti, mekiyis) is held across the island. Balinese is full ceremonial dress will replace half-naked sunbothers on the tourist beaches as they perform ritual purifications of religious paraphernalia such as the umbrellas, statues, speras and other sacred objects kept in home or temples.
Balinese living inland can perform these rituals at either a holy spring or other source of clean water. Those living within 15 kolometers of the beach will make the journey to the sea. Distance and weater won't discourage them from carrying heavy, sacred objects on a day-long hike in the March heat. However, the last five years has changed a little as most beach access roads are now paved and a cart or other vechile can be used to carry the objects delicately balance on their hands, to the accompaniment of stirring gamelan music of beleganjur.
During melasti ceremonies, visitors are encouraged to come to the beach from midday onward. This is not a time for swimming, sunbathing or surfing but it is the best time for visitors to witness one of Balinese's bigest purification cerimonies and provides irresistible photo opportunities. Visitors are respectfully requested to wear sorong and a waist sash. Since most streets to the beach around Sanur and Kuta are busy with processions, it is advisable to ether come before the processions jam the roads or shortly after they arrive on the beach.
Although ogoh ogoh can be seen from time to time as part of festival and dance performances, the ones made for the ngerupuk cleansing ritual are very special. Constructed around a bamboo frame, the effigies are stuffed with coconut fibre, animal hair, and sometimes with styrafoam. The outer skin is finished with glossy acrylic paint or with some form of fur depending of the caracter that they portray. Ogoh ogoh characters can be taken from Hindu mythology and sometimes from a contemporary figure that is considered fit to symbolize evil spirits, like a bomber. They are colossal in scale, can be between 2-3 meters high and very dramatic. It could take 2-3 weeks to make one. the ogoh ogoh are carried around the villages in a noisy parade full with torch-light. This act is believe to pacif evil spirits or other destructive force.
The day after Nyepi is called ngembak geni, literally 'relighting the fire' , to mark the return to normal life. On this day, lively celebrations take place all over Bali, including the unique med-medan
rituals - a cheek-kissing festivity between boys and girls that takes place at Banjar Kajar Sesetan, Denpasar, right on Jalan Raya Sesetan. It start around 2 pm and is a unique celebration not be missed.
As a religious event of Balinese Hindus, Nyepi is a symbolical replay of these philosophical principles. The world is 'clean' in the beginning of the year. The Balinese Hindus do not celebrate the new year with lavish party, instead they celebrate the coming of the new year with meditation. No activities are allowed to take place. These mandatory religious prohibitions include no pleasure (amati lelangon), no traffic (amati lelungan), no fire (amati geni) and no work (amati karya). These prohibitions aim at controlling oneself and submission to God. Everybody has to stay in the individual houses. No lights in the house, no sounds of radio and no works, just keep silence. It is totally silence.
The anti-climax of the meditation is on the following day, which is called Ngembak Geni, where the people are happy and bless their success of controlling themselves. It is also the day of get-togetherness and family gathering. Should you be in Bali or first arrive in Bali on the occasion of Nyepi Day, on the Gregorian calendar, this year it occurs on 19 March 2007.
You must take the following instructions into account :
- The silence begins at 6 a.m. of 30 March 2006 and the next day (31 March 2006) at 6 a.m.
- The airport will be totally closed on 30 March 2006, so there will be neither arrival nor departure in the airport on that day. All connecting airports around the globe have been informed about it in advance. If you take surface trip, you should not plan your arrival in Bali on 30 March 2006, there is no activity in the bus terminal and most importantly there will be no traffic on that day in the whole Bali island.
- You should stay inside your house. Do not go out of the house. Should you need food or anything to buy, do it on the previous day because on Nyepi Day all shops do not open.
- Since all activities throughout the island are held, put your plan before or ahead of Nyepi Day.
- Should you want to make a light or play the music, keep it minimum, no light and sounds are allowed.
- Don't make any noise while you are at home.
- Across Bali, the activities are allowed only in emergency rooms and maternity section of hospitals and the arrival section of airport. Any emergencies are taken into consideration and tolerated. Hotel is in the service but no outdoor activities are allowed and the guests are asked to stay inside the hotel. The whole island is in silence