Nyepi, the Hindu New Year, is tomorrow. That makes today Nyepi Eve. Since we have yet to experience it, we will save our final analysis until tomorrow. But from what we have heard, it is CRAZY!
The past few days we have seen long processions of Hindus all dressed up in their traditional garb carrying their idols from the temples down to the beach to wash the idols in a ceremony of cleansing.
Tonight will start with the Ogoh-Ogoh parades on ‘Nyepi Eve,’ for the Bhuta Yajna ritual. Large, scary-looking statues are carried through the streets with LOTS of music and noise. They are brought to the beach in a torch-lit procession while people bang pots and beep horns to make as much noise as they can, to scare away evil. The statues are of demons and monsters representing negative elements. The Balinese believe the monsters, demons and noise will scare away bad spirits.
After the parades, the demon statues are burned on the beach and Nyepi is ushered in.
Nyepi is a day of complete silence. It is for reflection and prayer, but also the belief that bad spirits that visit the island will belive there is no-one there because there is no sound and no light and go away again.
For 30 hours, the entire island is shut down. The airport is closed, there are no stores, restaurants, or banks open. You must stay in your home with absolutely no lights on. No one is allowed to drive, and if you do go out, you will be in jail for the remainder of Nyepi. If anyone sees lights on in your home, they have the right to shoot out your windows with rocks.
We have a family here that we have become friends with. We visit with them daily, and they are concerned about our family during Nyepi. We are definitely aware of the craziness of tonight and the spiritual battles, but we are not concerned for our safety. I kinda think they are more concerned that I won’t stay home tomorrow. I have continued to ask “But what if you want to go to the beach? Would they really put you in jail for driving on the street? Are you sure no coffee shops will be open?!?” Anyways, they will come this afternoon and stay at our condo with us for Nyepi.
I have not had a chance to share much about the spiritual climate of Bali, but it is diverse! Please join us in praying for the Spirit Of Truth to open eyes. And pray for the relationships we are building to be for His Glory. Watch for photos tomorrow!