The word Nyepi means silence. And as the name implies, it is a day of silence. For one whole day Bali’s population of 3.5 million choose to give the island a rest. For 24 hours all business stops, the roads are empty, there is no activity; even the airports close. At night, the cities are blanketed in almost total darkness because, in following ancient law, artificial light is forbidden on this sacred day. The concept of Nyepi is to enter into the new year in cleanliness, following the simple idea that if the first day is cleansed and pure then hopefully the days following will be so as well.
One of the most positive impacts of Nyepi is that nature has a chance to rest, even if only for one day, this one day has a major impact. Imagine, for 24 hours how much energy is saved because electricity use is so minimal, how much pollution can be reduced when thousands of cars and motorbikes are not choking the streets of Bali. Imagine how much smog and production waste is reduced because all businesses are closed for one day. For this one day, Bali overflows with positive energy as many residents choose to meditate, fast, and use this time for introspection.
Our planet is old and tired. After a year of being victim to human greed, in this era where ‘time is money’, our earth deserves this moment of rest.
This tradition is still practiced in Bali, passed on from generation to generation. I truly hope Nyepi will continue with future generations and that Bali continues to be proud of Nyepi, a tradition which can inspire the world in similar movements to show our love for nature.
Here is a song about Nyepi from the Bali band Kaimsasikun. Me and Ian (vocalist/guitarist of Kaimsasikun) would often spend Nyepi together. This year his band is in Jakarta recording, but they still celebrate Nyepi in their own way. Enjoy:
Peace and happy new year Caka 1934!