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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Indonesia, Lesson 8 - Day of Silence
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Indonesia Series at IndonesianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Indonesian holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 8, Day of Silence. In Indonesian, it’s called Nyepi.
Day of Silence is a celebration held to welcome the Saka New Year observed by Hindus in Bali, and falls on the 1st day of Saka. Different from the celebrations of the Gregorian New Year that blares with trumpet sounds, Hindus in Bali welcome Saka New Year with total submission, or in Indonesian penyerahan to the god Hyang Widhi, and by praying for the future to be always in His guidance.
In this lesson, we’ll find out what Hindus in Bali do during this holiday.
Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Do you know the name of the form of Hinduism embraced in Bali?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. So, keep listening.
Two or three days before Nyepi, Hindus in Bali conduct the Melasti ritual. All items involved in prayer rituals in the Temple are carried to places where water or air flows—such as the sea, lakes, and rivers—to be washed. The meaning behind this ritual is to clean and purify human beings and the universe of all uncleanliness. This ritual, in Indonesian pronounced ritual, is followed by another ritual called Tawur, in which the objective is to return the essence of nature that has been used by human beings by giving certain offerings while reciting prayers.
During Day of Silence, Hindus conduct the silence fast, which means they are not allowed to light fire, to do physical activities, to travel, or to have fun, in Indonesian bersenang-senang. Apart from this, they restrain themselves from lust, thirst, and hunger, keeping the silence by not speaking and concentrating on their god Hyang Widhi by doing 24 hours of meditation. In Indonesian the word for meditation is semedi. During this 24 hours, Bali is enwrapped in darkness and silence.
The next morning brings Ngembak Geni or the freedom to light fires. Now, Hindus are released from the silence fast and conduct dharma santi, a ritual asking and giving forgiveness to everyone and celebrating happiness as the form of gratitude to Hyang Widhi that they have succeeded in conducting the Day of Silence ritual safely. In Sesetan Bali, the freedom to light fire is celebrated with Omed-omedan, a tradition in which youth hug and kiss each other to express their joy.
During this holiday, the silence fast does not only apply to Hindus, but also to everybody living or staying in Bali, including tourists. On that day, access to and from Bali is closed. The movement of tourists is limited only to hotel areas.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know the name of the form of Hinduism embraced in Bali?
The answer is Hindu Dharma. Although originally derived from Indian Hinduism, the Day of Silence is a celebration observed only by Hindu Dharma, the form of Hinduism that currently flourishes in Bali.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Have you ever experienced Day of Silence in Bali? How was your experience?
Leave us a comment telling us at IndonesianPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!