Nyepi in Bali

Mar 5th, 2008, in News, by

Commercialisation of the Hindu festival of Nyepi in Bali and how Muslims should behave during it.

Nyepi, the Balinese “Day of Silence”, which falls this year on March 7th, marking Bali’s Lunar New Year (Tahun Baru Saka 1930), is a day meant to be reserved for quiet, very quiet, self-reflection, and anything that might spoil attempts at such reflection, such as the lighting of fires, working, entertainment, travelling in vehicles, and even for some talking, is strictly forbidden.

Hotels

Many starred Bali hotels are said to have offered special Nyepi attractions, where they hope to be able to escort guests around the streets in vehicles, to take in the “atmosphere” of Nyepi.

A government spokesman, Nyoman Puasa Aryana, however says hotels have no dispensations, that only ambulances and fire engines may be allowed to operate on the day. Hotel owners should learn from past mistakes: beritabali

A few years ago a tourist vehicle got attacked by a mob during Nyepi.

Bali Tourism Board head, Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya, said any hotels that encouraged their guests to drive around town were insulting the holiness of the day and the people who observe it. beritabali

A housewife in Ubud, Kadek Sri Hariyani, said she had once seen a family of tourists drive by her house on Nyepi and this was proof that hotels had commercialised the holy day, and she was upset about it. beritabali

Media

A lot of news agencies and television stations have asked for permission to cover Nyepi. A village head in Pakraman, Denpasar, Anak Agung Arnawa, said it started two months ago, and he was deluged with requests from media companies to set up facilities in his village. beritabali

Anak Agung Arnawa said most of the companies were local, however some international agencies, such as CNN, also want to film during Nyepi. Gede Nurjaya, of the Tourism Office, says he has already rejected three such requests, one from CNN and two others from Korea and Taiwan.

We already wrote back to them and said “no”.

However he said filming in some places, like from hotel grounds, was allowed. beritabali

Muslims

Nyepi this year falls on a Friday, the most important day of Muslim prayer, and the roughly 5% of the population who are Muslims are being instructed by the MUI (Majelis Ulama Indonesia) to only visit a mosque that is nearby their homes, and go there on foot, and not to use the mosque’s loudspeaker for the call to prayer.

Muslims have to respect Hindus observing Nyepi.

Says MUI Bali chief Hasan Ali. beritabali


33 Comments on “Nyepi in Bali”

  1. avatar Carla says:

    Nyepi this year falls on a Friday, the most important day of Muslim prayer, and the roughly 5% of the population who are Muslims are being instructed by the MUI (Majelis Ulama Indonesia) to only visit a mosque that is nearby their homes, and go there on foot, and not to use the mosque’s loudspeaker for the call to prayer.

    Yeah I was wondering about that. But the fact that the muslims can still go to the mosque near their homes (that means they will walk on the street to get to the place, which to my understanding is forbidden on Nyepi Day) shows that the Hindu people also respect those of other religions. One thing I always admire since I’ve lived on this island these past 6 months: their interfaith toleration.

  2. avatar Enigmatic says:

    Muslims

    Nyepi this year falls on a Friday, the most important day of Muslim prayer, and the roughly 5% of the population who are Muslims are being instructed by the MUI (Majelis Ulama Indonesia) to only visit a mosque that is nearby their homes, and go there on foot, and not to use the mosque’s loudspeaker for the call to prayer.

    Muslims have to respect Hindus observing Nyepi.

    Bravo! Good move by the MUI here. Everyone else please learn.

  3. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    A few years ago a tourist vehicle got attacked by a mob during Nyepi.

    Don’t blame the tourists, they don’t know any better. Besides, many of them are so dumb that they believe this entire culture is specially there for their amusement only.
    Blame those who exploit this stupidity and who can’t think any further than how to fill their pockets.
    The Balinese Hindu pantheon has a new supergod. His name is Pariwisata.

  4. avatar peter says:

    Ya interestingly reasonable response from MUI on the issue of Friday prayers. Menarik.

  5. avatar Odinius says:

    For once I highly approve of something MUI says…good call!

  6. avatar Janma says:

    well well well…….. I’ve never ever seen any tourists allowed out on nyepi day… that must have been a very very rare occasion….. I don’t think that is proof that nyepi is commercialized….. tourists are not all dumb dewa, just like not all balinese are!
    the news agencies from indonesia have often been allowed to film the streets of bali during nyepi, so I don’t know why Anak Agung Arnawa is pretending like it’s never happened before, they pay the pecalang and away they go.
    In my village people go out all day, especially in the afternoon, they walk around, they shout, they carry on…. all the pemuda went to the river last year and shouted their lungs out and set off fire crackers…… so what do you think? STUPID!????
    The pebekel who had to sign a paper for our land purchase wouldn’t do it unless we paid him 25 million…. he is corrupt and he is supposed to sign that as part of his job… but no…. he needed the money for his ‘holy day’, so forced us to pay it before nyepi….
    blah blah blah blah…..

  7. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    Janma

    In my village people go out all day, especially in the afternoon, they walk around, they shout, they carry on”¦. all the pemuda went to the river last year and shouted their lungs out and set off fire crackers”¦”¦ so what do you think?

    Not where I live. The kids can come out and play in the street between 17h and nightfall, a rare ocasion for them thanks to the madmen on their motorbikes who usually make it a life-threatening enterprise just to cross to the other side (my street has become some kind of a drag strip since it has been repaved, already 4 people run over and dead in 5 years time).

  8. avatar Fanglong says:

    What I prefer in Nyepi is the attempt to get a glimpse of sunia, or “emptiness”.

  9. avatar Shorty says:

    filming nyepi? shows the ignorance, arrogance and lack of respect of those requesting it.

    it would make rivetting viewing (?) – a silent movie with nothing happening!!

    selamat hari raya nyepi

    maybe if in our mad, self indulgent world we observed a day of quiet reflection………..

  10. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    Once again Nyepi was beautiful (except for the weather). No cars, no motorbikes, no chainsaws, only the sounds of nature and people’s voices.

    A touch of Paradise.

    The pebekel who had to sign a paper for our land purchase wouldn’t do it unless we paid him 25 million”¦. he is corrupt and he is supposed to sign that as part of his job”¦ but no”¦. he needed the money for his ‘holy day’, so forced us to pay it before nyepi”¦.

    A touch of Hell.

    Janma, why don’t you mention the name of this desa?

  11. avatar Janma says:

    Perkebel Pejeng dong……

  12. avatar Janma says:

    or is that supposed to be perbekel? anyway the equivalent of lurah in bali…. the office near pejeng market. but what use? they are all the same, the klihan of our village is on the train too, they work it out from percentage to top it off! so they want a percentage of the sale!

  13. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    It’s perbekel and it’s good to know. I know people who are interested in buying land in the area so I can warn them and do some intelligence work myself. Thanks

  14. avatar Bas says:

    Bali is just a big, increasingly ugly, money machine. Give me a break with those Balineses and their $$$$$$ culture. These guys have NO respect for strangers. I’d rather like Indonesia becomes am Islamic country rather than a big Bali. Boycott Bali. That’s all they deserve.

  15. avatar Fanglong says:

    Interesting, what you say, Bas ! I wonder. Where aren’t there bloody profiteers on this earth ? I think Balinese deserve some of our $$$, bukan ? Many a tourist goes there just to take advantage of the cheap life : isn’t it fair he’s not respected, the bloody profiteer, the neo-colonialist ? Both Islamic country & big Bali are indigestible exagerations… For the time being, I’m not going to boycott Bali in general, and I’ll see what to do with the perbekel when it’s time for me — if it ever happens — to get a piece of land over there or I don’t know what. Farewell !

  16. avatar janma says:

    Bas are you saying the balinese are alone in their pursuit of the dollar? That muslims somehow aren’t? or christians? Meh!
    Fanglong, why would you say they deserve the dollars? why them as opposed to others?

  17. avatar Cukurungan says:

    Bravo! Good move by the MUI here. Everyone else please learn.

    If you have time for visiting Indonesia I recommend you to visit South Sumatra Area to witness with your own eyes how life is going on for Balinese Hindu who live in the enclave Bali community heavily surrounded by the Big Muslim community. Actually we already learn each other and learn faster than anyone else in this earth but you know some people can do nothing except just complaining and make ranting.

  18. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    Bas said

    Bali is just a big, increasingly ugly, money machine. Give me a break with those Balineses and their $$$$$$ culture. These guys have NO respect for strangers.

    Although it breaks my heart Bas’s comment makes sense, especially for the places infested with tourists. What’s happening now has already been predicted 80 years ago by those who put Bali on the map.

    It always hurts seeing something nice going down the drain, being destroyed by greed.

  19. avatar Lairedion says:

    It always hurts seeing something nice going down the drain, being destroyed by greed.

    Yeah, but this is not limited to Bali. It’s a worldwide phenomenon. Humans are greedy by nature. It’s in our blood….

  20. avatar Fanglong says:

    Hi Janma ! The people deserve the dollars they deserve for service or anything, and not the Balinese more than any others. That’s what I meant.

    I wonder how tourists, as human beings, can stand staying in places infested with themselves. I’d think it’s not stupid from the Balinese to keep “infesting rich tourists” in certain areas so they can milk them more & quicker : isn’t it then a simple gesture of balance ? You contempt me, and in exchange I’ll ask you some more money… Anyway, we cannot communicate deeply, we don’t share the same creeds, & even if we look at the same object, we don’t see the same thing. So, enjoy cheap beer & sunburns while leaving us some of your great dollars. And for that, matur suksma !

  21. avatar Janma says:

    Dewa, the perbekel in pejeng is not unusual, this is the case for any perbekel, camat, klihan etc all over the place… no different…. the banjar will try to rip into you for iuran plus plus plus…. some demand sacks and sacks of rice every year etc. if they think you have money they will go for it.
    I went to get my KK from the camat in Tampaksiring…. they sent me in circles for ages in order to extract more money from me, but I wouldn’t pay…. I said I have a right for this Kartu Keluarga and it’s their service and I will pay the published price, no more. Eventually I wound up in the camats office and he basa basi’ed and pushed his pencil around for a good hour until he gave in…. I said it was fortunate that in this day and age we can report this kind of small scale corruption, I can even sms SBY right? In the end he made them make it for me, his secretary finally slopped in the room wearing sandal cepit (imagine in the camats office!) and she handed me the KK for which I thanked her…. she then made an angry face and held out her hand to me… “apa itu terima kasih!!! Mana!?” (meaning pay the extra above the legal fee) I just looked at the camat and shook my head…. “bapak gak malu punya anak buah begini?” then I stormed out.
    Three days later, about 8 at night a huge contingent of police, pecalang, klihan, the camat and his boys all turned up at my house… like 20 men….. they said they were checking if I had any minuman keras or javanese maids at my house.
    I was not happy….. “number one,” I said, “if I have minuman keras (alcohol) at my house it is my right, and not illegal, I’m not selling it at the pos kamling!”
    “number two, the klihans cousin is my maid and he knows exactly that I have no javanese maids….. so this show of force is totally uneccesary!” Mind you the whole meaning was not lost on me, as the camat stood there glaring at me the whole time.

  22. avatar Riyoz says:

    cukunguran says :

    “If you have time for visiting Indonesia I recommend you to visit South Sumatra Area to witness with your own eyes how life is going on for Balinese Hindu who live in the enclave Bali community heavily surrounded by the Big Muslim community. Actually we already learn each other and learn faster than anyone else in this earth but you know some people can do nothing except just complaining and make ranting.”

    Good point, man…..it’s the same thing here in Java :)…no problem at all…..

    “Nyepi, the Balinese “Day of Silence”, which falls this year on March 7th, marking Bali’s Lunar New Year (Tahun Baru Saka 1930), is a day meant to be reserved for quiet, very quiet, self-reflection, and anything that might spoil attempts at such reflection, such as the lighting of fires, working, entertainment, travelling in vehicles, and even for some talking, is strictly forbidden.”

    Hmmm”¦.fortunately Islam doesn’t have this type of restrictions during the fasting month of Ramadhan”¦.coz’ this country would be completely paralyzed for a month !”¦..

  23. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    @Janma

    Good girl. Chapeau. Don’t give in to these bastards.

    they said they were checking if I had any minuman keras or javanese maids at my house.

    Aren’t javanese maids allowed when they are registered as pendatang? This is new to me.

  24. avatar Fanglong says:

    Quite impressive, Janma. Chapeau ! And all my sympathy.

  25. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    Fanglong

    isn’t it then a simple gesture of balance ? You contempt me, and in exchange I’ll ask you some more money”¦

    Who’s contempting who?

    So, enjoy cheap beer & sunburns while leaving us some of your great dollars.

    Cheap beer??? Can you give me the address?

  26. avatar Fanglong says:

    Hi Dewa !

    I’m trying to imagine what a Balinese (a Human Being) infested / invaded / aggressed (?) by (another Human Being showing him or herself as) a “gross” tourist can think : you find here what you don’t anywhere else ; as we don’t communicate more than for your sole pleasure and contentment, please consider me as a robot and BUY from me what I can SELL you. If you turn out to be somehow gracious, I’ll do my best to be the same & even more. If not, our compulsory exchanges will be more expensive for you, the demander. May I not be kinda repaid for my efforts to keep smiling if I happen to be vexed or even humiliated ?…

    For the “cheap beer” I was talking of anything of that kind which is so much cheaper than in Europe, for instance.

    But I must admit I’m very confused in my search of who & what is genuine, sincere, true, etc.

    As for an address, I really enjoyed the food at the bar of Murni’s Warung in Ubud…

  27. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    Fanglong

    For the “cheap beer” I was talking of anything of that kind which is so much cheaper than in Europe, for instance.

    If you’re talking about Bintang (Heineken), compared to some European countries I think its price here certainly doesn’t come cheap.
    As to quality I agree it is cheap.

  28. avatar Patrick says:

    I think you’re right, Dewa, for the price & quality of Bintang. I’m sorry I’m so far & no more in situation — working quite hard to fly back to Bali. I’m now planning to write a grammar of modern spoken Balinese & I hope one day I’ll be sponsorized for that…
    Cheers !

  29. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    I’m now planning to write a grammar of modern spoken Balinese

    Good luck with it because this is something sorely lacking for people who are interested.

  30. avatar Janma says:

    Aren’t javanese maids allowed when they are registered as pendatang? This is new to me.

    Yes, they have to be registered Dewa, which is why it was such a joke. They knew exactly that I didn’t have any javanese at my house, it was just a show of force.

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