Hindus in Bali apply strict rules regarding temples and ceremonies. These rules mainly concern dress requirements and conditions of 'sebel' (taboo) such as menstruation or open wounds, bringing food into the temple, being physically or mentally ill, being in a state of mourning (for the Balinese this lasts 42 days or one month + 7 days of Balinese calender), and having given birth within the past 42 days. Other rules need to be observed or asked for, especially during festivals.
Simple guidance when attending a Temple Ceremony
1. Always wear a sarong and sash.
2. Do not walk in front of people when they are praying.
3. Do not use flash or point your camera at the priest's face!
4. Never sit higher than the priest, the offerings and/or people praying.
5. During cremation ceremonies, do not get in the way of attendees, howerver perfect that photographic moment might be...
6. Women are not allowed to enter temples during their menstruation.
The Galungan Ceremony.
One of Bali's major festivals, celebrates the return of Balinese gods and deified ancestors to Bali. For ten days, Balinese families will entertain and welcome with prayers and offerings, along with ceremonies to cleanse and balance the inner and outer energy on the island. Galungan lasts for 10 days and features, among other things, barongs dancing from temple to temple in each village. The festival symbolizes the victory of good over evil. The origins of Galungan are still a mystery, but essentially this is the beginning of the week in which the gods and ancestors descend to earth…and good triumphs over evil.
The Kuningan Ceremony.
This festival is held ten days after the Galungan Festival, signifying the closing of the new year holiday. On this day, special offerings made of yellow rice and special dishes are offered, while every family compound and temple looks amazing with ornaments. Believed to be the ascendent day of ancestral holy spirits and Deities back to heaven.
Hari Raya Nyepi - Nyepi Ceremony
is a Hindu Day of Silence or the Hindu New Year in the Balinese Saka calendar. The largest celebrations are held in Bali as well as in Balinese Hindu communities around Indonesia. On New Year's Eve the villages are cleaned, food is cooked for 2 days and in the evening as much noise is made as possible to scare away the devils. On the following day, Hindus do not leave their homes, cook or engage in any activity. Streets are deserted, and tourists are not allowed to leave hotel complexes. No arrival nor departure flights at Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar - Bali. No tours activities...
Nyepi Day is calculated based on Saka Calender (Balinese calender).
One year of Saka calender has 12 sasih (Balinese month). Each sasih consists of 35 days which is usually has one full moon (Purnama) and one dark moon (Tilem). There are 15 days from Purnama to reach Tilem.
The 9th of dark moon (Tilem) is called Tilem Kesanga (9th). One day after the Tilem Kesanga is the frst day of Balinese calender (Caka New Year or Balinese New Year). On this day is celebrated as the Nyepi Day.
Nyepi Day is not set (what date we want) by Balinese or government but based on logic calculation of Caka Calender. The next years Nyepi Day can be also calculated using this pattern.
As the Gregorian calender has 365 days a year that's why Nyepi Day is not at the same day or date every year but mostly on March or April.
Other temple ceremony days ( Galungan, Kuningan, etc) are celebrated every 6 months of Balinese calender or 35 x 6 days = 210 days. This ceremony is always at the same day but not the same dates. Ex : Galungan is always on Wednesday ( Budha - Kliwon - Dungulan)
What should the visitors do during Nyepi Day or "Day of Silence" ?
In accordance with local regulations, all visitors are expected remain within the property's premises during the Hindu New Year or Nyepi Day, from midnight of one day before Nyepi Day to early morning on the next day. Check-in and check-out will not be possible on Nyepi Day, the airport is closed. Only very limited of lights may be considerable in the hotel's rooms whilst Balinese will have no light nor fire for all night. everything stops for a day, the day of total peace and quiet.
Your fullboard should be taken in the hotel as no outside restaurants open on Nyepi Day.
Only in the Nyepi Day we can breath in the real 'pure' atmosphere of environment (physically) and pured mind (spiritual). We can feel the different and differ our feel.
Thus, the Nyepi Day should not be avoided.
It is only in Bali Island,
[ Nyepi concept ]