Celebrating Bali Hindu New Year
Balinese has many traditional celebrations and festivals, and like other cultures, the New Year is a time for special activities. There are mindful affairs that make up the Day of Silence. It is in Bali where the largest celebrations are, and in the Balinese Hindu communities across Indonesia. When it is New Year’s eve, the villages get cleaned, cook food for two days, and make a lot of noise at night. The purpose of this is to scare away evil spirits. However, this is still quieter than other cultures that welcome the new year with parties, fireworks, and a lot of noise.
If you are mystified and interested in learning more about the Bali Hindu New Year, you will learn more from this post. You might even think of visiting Indonesia to watch how they observe Nyepi.
What is Bali Hindu New Year in Indonesia All About?
A couple of days before Nyepi, a Hindi Balinese purification takes place, and the ritual is called Melasti. During this time, villagers parade around while carrying sacred objects from a nearby lakeshore or ocean. The objects will be cleaned to purify them using holy water of the sea or lake.
The Nyepi celebrations are focused on Bali, and it comes in 2 forms. According to custom, Springtime is when the Lord of hells sends all the devils. They have to be cleared out to purify the island right before the start of the new year.
You will see people running through the villages and town streets, with faces painted, making a lot of noise.
By doing this, they believe that the evil spirits are disturbed by the noise and go away. The local people make big paper-matches of the evil spirits, and they call them ‘Ogoh Ogoh.’ They will parade their Ogoh Ogoh around towns and villages. The people with painted faces make noise while the parade is going around to scare monsters away. At night, the Ogoh Ogohs are burnt during a ceremony, and then the people drink, dance, and feast.
How to Celebrate Bali Hindu New Year in Indonesia and Things to Do
Watch the Processions of Melasti Before Nyepi
A couple of days that lead up to Saka New Year and Nyepi, the Balinese Hindus get into the lively procession mode. The pilgrims from different temples in the village across Bali have their heirlooms during the local parade along the coastlines, which is where elaborate purifications occur.
Melasti is a great time to capture using your camera because it is a very iconic moving Balinese image in motion. The devotees are carrying colourful and detailed parasols, small effigies, and banners. They are stunning to look at against the blue sky and turf. You will enjoy this vibrant and rare scene.
It is popularly known as the kissing ritual, Omed-omedan comes after Nyepi to welcome the Caka New Year. The Sesetan boys are maybe the happiest because they can kiss the village’s single ladies without getting in trouble. When it is Omed-omedan, the bachelors and bachelorettes from 17 – 30 years old of Sesetan go to the main street. They are divided into two groups of men and women. They will go to their position and face each other. On a given signal, each side will approach the centre of the street. The male participants will pull the female participants while the villagers pour buckets of water on them.
There is a one-week transformational journey known as the Balispirit Festival. The yearly Yoga-and spiritual festival has attracted many fans, followers, and students of Yoga music, healing, movement, and calling. A couple of weeks before the festival takes place, Ubud starts to be completed with an international and colourful tribe of conscious travellers who gather to participate in the world’s most inspiring events. The objective of the BaliSpirit Festival is to nourish and awaken the potential of each individual to change. This leads to a positive change in communities, homes, and globally.
How Bali Hindu New Year in Indonesia is Celebrated
After the noisy festival comes to Nyepi, which is the “day of silence” known as Seclusion Day, this day marks the beginning of the Balinese Hindu Saka New Year and the coming of spring. Nyepi is for self-reflection, and anything that could cause a disturbance is not allowed.
That means you cannot cook, have fires, entertainment, travel, and work on that day.
During Nyepi, Bali’s typical busy streets become silent. Even if Nyepi is a festival of the Hindus, even the non-Hindu residents also observe this day with respect to fellow citizens. The tourists can do whatever they want inside their hotels, but no one is allowed to go to the streets or beaches. Bali’s airport is closed during Nyepi. Even telecommunications companies turn off internet services for 24 hours.
Venues and Special Events for Celebrating Bali Hindu New Year in Indonesia
The rituals normally start two days before Nyepi, and the first ceremony is Melasti. The day after Nyepi is called the Ngembak Geni. Once they complete their day of restraint and purification, people are very happy to enjoy going out with their friends and family so they can ask for forgiveness. No matter where they live, they can always find ways to celebrate Nyepi. However, it is on Bali Island where they can sense the uniqueness of this public holiday.
If you want to visit Bali to experience how they celebrate Nyepi, no one stops you but yourself. Make sure to arrive before Nyepi so that airports will still be open and you are already settled once the celebrations start.