On the day before the Balinese New Year, COMO Shambhala Estate will host a short talk about Nyepi before starting our very own noise procession and Ogoh-Ogoh parade around the Estate.
On the eve of Nyepi, guests may choose to go to Payangan village with our guides to enjoy the display of Ogoh-Ogoh.
On Nyepi day, the Estate will hold a Morning Meditation class, a Fasting for Cleansing Talk as well as an afternoon Meditation Class.
In Bali, two calendars are recognized. The Pawukon calendar is a 14th century Javanese relic based on a continually recurring cycle of 210 days. The counting of consecutive years never began so the current year is unknown. This is the calendar that is used for the majority of Bali’s religious festivals. The cycle has good and bad days for doing just about anything; from getting married to planting rice. The other recognized calendar is the Çaka calendar which is based on the lunar cycle. Its roots date back to early Hindu India and the island’s three million Balinese-Hindu souls turn to this calendar for their inimitable Nyepi, or New Year. Arriving on tip toes, the day after the new moon ends the ninth lunar month, Nyepi marks the first day of this calendar.
Nyepi, and its eve, are formal reflections of the island’s spiritual beliefs. On the day before Nyepi, animals are sacrificed and food and offerings are left out for the evil spirits. Then the din begins. Tin cans, bottles and anything else that’s available that might make noise are banged to awaken and appease the demons. Fireworks and canons are exploded, torches lit and enormous Ogoh-Ogoh (garish, papier-mâché gods and monsters) are paraded through villages and towns all over Bali.
The following day, Nyepi arrives, and everything is turned upside down. The Balinese New Year is a day of virtual silence and enforced reflection. All lights on the island are turned off. No fires are lit. No work is done and no travel is allowed (Denpasar Airport is the only international airport to close for an entire day). On New Year’s night, with very little artificial light, and the moon in hiding, Bali is all but invisible. The eerie calm that descends is meant to trick the remaining demons into abandoning the island thereby setting up a peaceful and happy start to the New Year - Bali style.
Nyepi starts before sunrise on Tuesday 12th March and lasts until sunrise the following morning. During this period, non-Hindus on the island are requested to respect the predominant religious sensitivities of the island by remaining in their homes with their lights and all electronic entertainment switched off. Special dispensations are extended to hotels which requires guests to remain within the property throughout the 24-hour period and all external lighting visible to surrounding communities be switched off.