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Nyepi: Balinese New Year’s Day of Silence

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Nyepi (also Hari Raya Nyepi) is one of the most important holy days in Bali; it takes place on New Year’s day of Saka calendar, which nearly always falls in March. On this day, on the whole island of Bali, people do not go to work, but instead they stay at home to practice noble silence and meditation. Also, one ought to be mindful of the Hindu god of fire Agni, so no fires or candles will be lit on the day of Nyepi so as to prevent the rise of burning desires.

Nyepi

During Nyepi it is extremely quiet in Bali. The island may even seem as if it is deserted. This is done intentionally though, because this way the demons will be fooled to believe that there is no one left whom they could bother and thus the demons will retreat. Therefore, the day before Nyepi the Balinese will make their daily offerings to the demons and put these near busy crossroads.

Nyepi

Reference:

Bakker, Freek L., 2001: ‘Balinees Hindoeïsme: de Godsdienst op het Eiland Bali in Indonesië‘. Uitgeverij Kok – Kampen; pp. 41.

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