Nyepi is the most important and sacred Hindu holiday on Bali and is a general public holiday in the rest of Indonesia. As preparation to the build-up to Nyepi Day, are a series of rituals conducted in every part of the island. Balinese New Year is celebrated for 6 days with Nyepi – the day of silence, being only one aspect of it. There are several rituals that stand out:
A ceremony dedicated to Sanghyang Widhi Wasa and performed 3–4 days beforehand to acquire sacred water from the sea. The ritual is performed in temples near the sea (Pura Segara) and meant to purify sacred objects such as Arca, Pratima, and Pralingga belonging to several temples.
2. Bhuta Yajna
This is performed one day before Nyepi, in order to remove negative elements and create a balance with God, Mankind, and Nature. The ritual is also meant to win over Batara Kala by an offering. At sunset, between 5-6pm, the ritual of Pengrupukan takes place (Ogoh Ogoh parade). At this time the Balinese parade the streets with the ogoh-ogohs, passionately playing a deafening mixture of the kulkul (traditional bamboo bell), claxons, gamelan music and drummers music. See one of the best Ogoh Ogoh parade in Sanur.
3. Nyepi Day
This day is strictly reserved for self-reflectionanything that might interfere with that purpose is strictly prohibited. The inner and outer world is expected to be clean and everything starts anew, with Man showing his symbolic control over himself and the “force” of the World, hence the mandatory religious control. Nyepi expects a day of absolute silence, based on the four precepts of Catur Brata, included Amati Geni, means no fire or light, including no electricity. Prohibition of satisfying pleasurable human appetites. Amati Karya, no form of physcial working other then that which is dedicated to spiritual cleansing and renewal. Amati Lelungan, no movement or traveling. Amati Lelanguan, fasting and no revelry/self-entertainment.
4. Yoga/Brata Ritual
Started at 6:00 a.m. on the day of Nyepi and continues to 6:00 a.m. the next day. The faithful Balinese Hindu spend this day in meditation.
5. Ngembak Agni/Labuh Brata
This ceremony performed the day after Nyepi and is the official New Years Day. Ngembak is the day when Catur Berata Penyepian is over and the Balinese Hindus visit families, neighbours and relatives to exchange forgiveness.
6. Dharma Shanti
Which is performed after all the Nyepi rituals are finished and is the closure of this very sacred week in the Balinese Calendar.