Welcome to the month of March!
.... Enjoy the silence ....
The sun is out now it is nearing the end of the raining season. The transition into the drier season begins from now.
Bali is now celebrating the Saka New Year and the way it is celebrated is like no other in any part of the world. Nyepi occurs after a new moon. It is of Western Indian origin which follows a lunar sequence. It is one of the calendar's assimilated by Indonesia's cultural diversity and one of two also used in Bali.
The weeks leading up to Nyepi are a time for creativity and teamwork. Young and old meet in a 'banjar' which is similar to a town meeting place. Here they will construct large demonic like creatures that are made of paper mache. Later on these will be paraded down village streets in a procession. These iconic aspects of Nyepi have been a crucial part of the celebration of the silent day.Three days prior to the settled silence events such as colourful processions namedthe 'Melasti Pilgrimages' take place. Pilgrims from different village temples undertake long walks where they construct grand purification ceremonies. Then comes Saka New Year’s Eve which is completely the opposite to silence.
The evening starts off with a family ceremony which follows a ritual named - Pengrupukan. Each member of family helps to chase away evil forces called - Bhuta Kala.They are seen making loud noises such as banging on pots and pans and lighting fires to ward off bad spirits. The bad spirits are then taken shape as Ogoh - Ogoh these which represent all the negative aspects of life.They can be seen parading and later burnt in the streets of villages small and large across Bali apart from Samuh Village (as previously mentioned in February Edition 17’) this being due to the ogoh-ogoh refusing to burn so they were advised by the priests to never construct these creatures again. The streets are usually filled with flames, smoke and crowds of people.
On the 28th March falls Nyepi - The Silent Day. It is a very special day where all the locals, island wide, abide by silence for a whole 24 hours. Nobody steps out of their home compounds, no electricity is generated and no meals are cooked. Everything is purely peaceful and silent.
This day is the quietest of the year and it is a remarkable halt to the everyday business of the island.
NO TRANSPORT, NO AIRPLANES, NO BUSES, NO BOATS…. NOWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD DOES THIS!
The 28th of March is a much anticipated occasion and many come from far and wide to share this moment that is found nowhere but on the island of the gods. The days before hand and afterwards are just as significant as Nyepi (silent day) itself. The 29th of March - the day after the silent day is named - Ngembak Geni. Omed-omedan is known to be a entertaining event which translates as : Festival of splashes and smooches. This can be found in Denpasar where youth take the streets and water is thrown everywhere. Boys and girls play tug of war and pairs are sent to the middle and pushed to cheekily kiss. During this time families also visit each other, go on short trips together as it becomes a time for gatherings with loved ones.
This is now a time to meditate and reflect: how sad it is too short, we would love a whole week of Nyepi but it is less than 12 hours! We at Aquaria choose to honour and respect the Balinese Hindu tradition.The local village police strongly deter locals and guests from going out on the street, swimming in the ocean and leaving their home compounds during this day. We ask guests to be as quiet as possible and to use the day for inward reflection. A small number of our staff stay in the hotel for 24 hours away from their homes to be present on site during this time. We offer packages at a special price for meals to be delivered to your room and the facilities can still be enjoyed as per usual.The hotel provides dim lighting in public areas but guests are asked to please be minimal in their electricity usage.
We hope you will be here to witness this event, as it is something that should be experienced at least once in your lifetime. Guests will be unable to request any transport on the day of Nyepi. Therefore we offer an opportunity for our guests to observe the celebrations the night before in a village closeby.
If you are planning a trip to Bali around this time and are wishing to stay at Aquaria it is now your last chance to book at 2012 room rates !
No matter where you are Selamat Hari Raya Nyepi (Happy Nyepi)