Jumat, 04 Maret 2011


For the Hindu's New Year in Bali, people will stop any activities and refrain from any worldly activities. They will turn off all lights, fasting, stop working, and keeping away from entertainment.

Celebrating the Hindu's New Year of Saka in Bali has the deepest meaning of all. After all the glitters and shower of light throughout the year in hundreds of places of interest in the isle, the call for reborn should come in quiet and peaceful rhyme.

Nyepi comes in the ninth month of the Saka year and mostly takes place in March or in the beginning of April.

In Balinese Hinduism, the relinquishment is accomplished into several parts of worship. There are four rules known as Catur Brata Penyepian which guide the Hindus to refrain a while from worldly and physical activities.

First is the principle called Amati Geni. People are not allowed to set lights and fire for the whole day, that includes not burning or setting a stove on, and they can't cook for meals. Along with this purpose, they abstain from eating and drinking for 24 hours. In deeper reflection, this symbolizes turning the fire off in the five senses of the soul, along with any unscrupulous emotions. It brings up the other sensitivity from within one's spirit, and it enhances the quality of life.

The other actions of turning down corporal dealings are; not doing any work at all which is called Amati Karya, not going anywhere (Amati Lelungan), and avoiding any entertainment forms (Amati Lelanguan).

On Nyepi Day, the Hindus stay at home, but they are not supposed to listen to the radio, watch TV, speak to each other, answer telephones, or take in guests. Instead, they should lay and meditate in darkness, or have prayers at their own pura called merajan (little house-shrine in the front part of the home) to work out on the inner part of their spiritual life.

It is very quiet on the street and it is impossible to go anywhere even for other communities who are exempt from the rite. The Ngurah Rai International Airport and all harbor accesses to Bali are closed. The airport will only allow overfly flights, transfer, or emergency landing, while public services such as hospitals and transportations for the sick and other emergency cases will be on the restricted judgment of village chiefs.

As a lot of visitors could not do anything else in the island, they will have to stay in the hotel and find their own activities day.

The Hindus in Bali are strongly religious. All ages, except babies seem to be wholeheartedly bound to the observance of the prayer. Women wear kebaya and have their hair twisted while men appear in white with udang (traditional headdress) on their head. They will march under golden yellow sunshades which are meant for ritual ceremonies.

To set up the execution of Catur Brata Penyepian, all figures of worship and sacred utensils must be cleaned up to the oceans in Melis or Melasti ceremony. Upon the cleaning, Melasti is aimed to wash up human soul from dirt and sins. The Hindus believe that it is the power of nature that will take all the agony and refresh the soul. It is important to sip something from the ocean, that ocean is full of waves, just like the world life, where humankind should find the essence of life from within.

The procession itself is a rich and special eye-catching event for the tourists, especially before the D-day blackout. Bali could be fussed with traffic jams up to a day before Nyepi. In grand puras, women flooded the shrines bringing offerings on tall baskets on their head. Some people walk stretching out a long sheet of yellow and white cloth known as "The Bridge of God".

Gamelan (brass musical instruments) and barong (kind of Balinese mystical puppet) are also the sacrosanct figures to scour on the beach. The gamelan bands march and play along the street, escorting barongs, fruit, rice, and natural food transported in garnished carriers, heading to the head-waterfront puras such as Tanah Lot, Goa Lawah, or Kuta. After prayers and rituals confronting the sea, preachers will splash all the equipments with the holy water, and bless them to the next use for the following year.

And one day before Nyepi, there is the Tawur Kasanga ceremony. The ceremony is held in every place of the island, from the front yard through the city pura.

Every house has merajan to adorn with Panca Warna offerings. Sanggah cucuk of bamboo cane are positioned against the door to display colorful gifts of sacrifice, such as "˜ketupat' (cooked rice in square of coconut leaves), tumpeng (cone rice), chicken and other food, and rice wine, liquor, and water presented under the bamboo.

This Tawur Kasanga is aimed to please the natural environment, to inspire the Hindus to always care for the ecosystem, as that's what a balance in life should be like. According to Wiana in his book Yadnya and Bhakti, tawur means to return or to pay on something; that people should also give nature a sincere present, as human beings seem to take so much from the environment all the time. Hindus are taught to let go of the materialism and avarice but to make it simple: to take but also to give.

In parts on cities, tawur will continue with Ngrupuk as the sun goes down. Here, every member of the family has his and her own ritual to start noise around the house bringing torches and sprinkle rice over the alleyways.

In cities and bigger villages, people parade a huge sculpture called ogoh-ogoh, a colorfully clad wooden scary face representing the supernatural giant Bhuta Kala or the power of evil. The giant will be danced in the vibrant gamelan music and soared around the village for a while. To the end of the rite, they will blaze it on fire to get rid of the wicked power represented by the giant figure.

Then the next day, when the tranquility comes, Nyepi is really a solitude day. A day renouncing from the normal clamor is meant for looking through a more advanced quality in the future life. If one could see it through, he or she will be able to let go of the wrong, penetrate the peace into his or her mind, and start the dharma, something that most people dream of a new life.

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