Why Do We Celebrate Nyepi Day?

March 19, 2018

The History, Purpose,
and Celebration of Nyepi Day

We know that Nyepi Day is an important day for the Balinese Hindus. This particular Balinese celebration is so unique that it is the only one of its kind in the entire world. But today we want to go deeper - why do we celebrate Nyepi Day?

The most obvious answer is that Nyepi Day marks the start of the brand new Çaka year for the Balinese. Silence Day or Nyepi Day falls on the 17th of March this year from 6am until 6am the following day. This day also marks the 9th New Moon also called Tilem, a day of purification for the Gods and a day of absolute worship for the Balinese Hindus.

Did You Know?

The Çaka calendar was established when the Saka tribe led by King Kanishka I got his victory in India in the year 78 BC. Since that year Hindus began commemorating the New Year of Çaka as a day of resurrection, tolerance, renewal, togetherness, and peace.

Photo by: Adnyana Ekka

Nyepi comes from word 'Sepi' which means silence. This is the single most defining factor that differentiates the Nyepi New Year celebrations from the regular New Year's Eve celebrations held every 31st December. The main purpose of Nyepi Day is to pray for the purification of humanity, earth, an the universe.

Leading up towards Nyepi Day are a string of important ceremonies that must be held in every Balinese village on the island. Two or three days before Nyepi, Balinese from all over the island will conduct a significant purification ceremony called 'Melasti'. On that day, all tools of worship in the temple will be carried to the nearest beach or lake in a grand procession. Then, one day before Nyepi, other ceremonies will be conducted including Bhuta Yadnya, Caru, and Pengerupukan.

Photo by: Hotels.com

Offerings will be placed for Sang Buta Raja, Buta Kala and Batara Kala in the hopes for peace in every aspect. Purification rites will begin at home, the village, and so on. Special rice called Nasi Tawur will be sprinkled throughout the house, a lit torch will be carried throughout house accompanied by loud noises like the banging of pots and pans to scare off evil spirits. Thereafter, the world-famous Ogoh-Ogoh Parade will commence after sunset.

Photo by: mayun_srimala

On Nyepi Day, the Balinese people will spend the day fasting and resting in contemplation and meditation. They will also observe Catur Brata Penyepian; the 4 main things that you are not allowed to do during Nyepi. These are Amati Geni which means no fire or no light, Amati Karya which means no working or activity, Amati Lelungan which means no venturing outside, and Amati Lelanguan which means no entertainment.

Photo by: liputan6.com

The next day after Nyepi is called Ngembak Geni. On this Day, the Balinese will visit their family, neighbours and friends to express their gratitude and hopes for a bright new year ahead. On this day, Omed-omedan will take place, a unique ritual that originated from the Banjar Kaja Sesetan Village in Denpasar, also known as “The Kissing Ceremony”. 

Those are the history, purpose, and celebration of Nyepi Day in Bali. Followed by other celebrations like Melasti, Pengerupukan, Ogoh-ogoh Parade, and Omed-omedan, your visit to Bali will not disappoint. We hope you've found this post interesting! Do share this post with your family and friends. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and tag us for a chance to be featured!