Two days ago, 12 of March 2013 is a Balinese ‘Day of Silence’ named Nyepi which commemorated every Saka New Year or Isaawarsa as Hindu people called it. This day falls in Tilem Kesanga quantification which believed as a day of Gods sanctification in center of the ocean, so that’s why Hindu people also do the same, sanctification to themselves in Day of Silence. ‘Nyepi’ came from ‘Sepi’ word in Indonesian language, and ‘Sepi’ is Silence in English. Hindu people start to Nyepi when the day of Saka New Year is coming. It’s very different with other people when celebrating New Year on January 1st, Hindu people do nothing in a first day of Saka New Year. There will be no any activities when Nyepi, even international airport in Bali will also be closed.
Main purpose of the day of silence is, Hindu people do the sanctification for every sins that they ever did in their life and they also beg to God to gives them a strength to make a better life in the future. So, in the day of silence, they will take their time to stay at home and reflect on themselves to be a better human. So that’s why all the activities in Bali except hospital will be closed. Before the day of silence, there are some ritual ceremonies:
In Melasti Ceremony, Hindu people have to clean up all of the facilities or infrastructures of the place of prayer, after that all of the prayer things are carried to the purgatory like beach or another sacred water source. The main purpose of this ritual is to purifying the human being, nature, and sacred prayer things by pray and beg to God through the ocean, lake, or river. Beside that, the purpose of this ceremony is to begging God to gives Hindu people strength to pass through all of the Nyepi rituals. This ceremony has to be done 3 days before the day of silence.
Hindu people will do Tawur Kesanga ceremony a day before Nyepi. This ceremony in order to loose all of the evil unsures in human so the evil unsure will not stay and follow in human soul for the next year. This ceremony can be called as Buta Yadnya ceremony, because Hindu people will make caru (such food offerings) to be offered to the Sang Buta Raja, Buta Kala, and Batara Kala in order to not disturb the Hindu people while Nyepi.
After the ceremonies, in the day of silence, Hindu people will do Catur Bratha Penyepian. Catur Bratha Penyepian contains of four taboos, there are Amati Geni (not set a fire), Amati Karya (not do any physical works beside soul) purifying, Amati Lelungan (not travelling or go outside), Amati Lelanguan (not do any entertainment things). All they have to do is yoga, meditation, and asceticism. All of those taboos in order to control their emotion and all of their evil desires so they could reach a peaceful soul and serenity, also they could reflect and introspection themselves. Hindu people have to do this in one whole day, start from sunrise until tomorrow (24 hours).
After the day of silence, all of the activities will be back to normal. The day after Nyepi called Ngembak Geni. In this day, Hindu people will start the day with pray to the Hyang Widhi (God) for a better year. Then, they will visit their relations and forgive each other, this activity called Dharma Santi. So, this is the end of the ritual series in welcoming Saka New Year for Hindu people. The summary, Nyepi is a big day for Hindu people to restart themselves through pray, reflect themselves, and meditation in order to welcoming Saka New Year.
Note: The picture is taken from www.google.com