Bali religious authority says this year’s Nyepi is a one-day celebration

File photo of a deserted Sanur beach during Nyepi. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
File photo of a deserted Sanur beach during Nyepi. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

This year’s Nyepi, or the Balinese Day of Silence, will only be observed for one day, Bali’s leading religious authority has confirmed. 

The announcement has effectively quashed rumors that the holy day was going to be celebrated for three days, as has become tradition in the modern era.

“In regards to Nyepi, we want to assert that there are no three-day celebrations, Nyepi is just one day. A three-day Nyepi has never been written in [any] lontar,” I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana, chairman of the Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia (PHDI) in Bali, said yesterday.

Lontar are palm leaves used as pages in sacred Hindu text. 

Ngurah also referred to a circular issued earlier in January, which stated clearly that Nyepi is a one-day only celebration. The circular allows celebrations of the holy day with certain limits imposed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This includes limiting ceremonies to 50 people at the most, prohibiting the lighting of firecrackers, and mandatory strict adherence to health protocols. 

In addition, the Ogoh-Ogoh parades, which usually take place on the eve of Nyepi, have been cancelled for this year. 

Ogoh-Ogoh are menacing-looking effigies, which have become a modern tradition in the last few decades among Balinese youths as they compete to create the most magnificent models and parade them on the streets of Bali. However, religious authorities previously stressed that this is not a religious obligation. 

“If there is information that parading ogoh-ogoh is permitted, that is wrong, no need to pay attention. Because it will result in crowds, and there shouldn’t be any cluster from ceremonies, don’t let that happen,” Ngurah said.

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