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Nyepi, Ogoh-ogoh and Omed-omedan 2010

Nyepi, Ogoh-ogoh and Omed-omedan 2010


March 16, 2010

Denpasar, Bali - Today, March 16th 2010, Travelers and visitors to Bali will have a great opportunity to witness a unique and magical atmosphere when the Balinese Hindus celebrate New Year Eve, which is also known locally as Catur Brata Penyepian or "Nyepi".

The Nyepi Day is the day of absolute silence throughout the island when no activity is done ( Amati Karya ), no fire is lit ( Amati Geni ), no traffic is seen anywhere ( Amati Lelungan ) and no amusement ( Amati Lelanguan ) held along the day. When the event takes place, Bali will be the only place where people are ignoring any activities the whole day.


Nyepi is the peak of the Caka New Year celebrations aims to purify Bhuana Alit ( the humans ) and Bhuana Agung ( the universe ). For the Balinese Hindus, the Nyepi Day is the day of self - introspection for Hindu followers when the entire island turns to be just like being deserted. Catur Brata Penyepian or Nyepi lasted for 24 hours starting from Tuesday, March 16th 2010 at 06.00 am ( local time ) to 06.00 am at the next day.

The daily activities in all over the Island are stopped for all day long. No body is allowed to go out of their house, except for "Pecalang", traditional security units in charge of keeping Bali in order during the silent day celebration.


The word Nyepi is derived from the word "sepi" that means silent. Nyepi is a symbolical replay of these philosophical principles, As a religious event of Balinese Hindus. The world is "clean" in the beginning of the year.

A day before Nyepi, called "Ngerupuk" day, especially at the afternoon, Balinese community had a traditional parade called "ogoh-ogoh" procession. Ogoh-ogoh are huge dolls symbolizing evil spirits, made from bamboo and sack paper built for the parade, normally have form of mythological beings, mostly demons.

The main purpose of the making of Ogoh-ogoh is the purification of the natural environment of any spiritual pollutants emitted from the activities of living beings (especially humans). According to Hindu teachings, the forms of Ogoh-ogoh represent the Bhuta-Kala (Bhuta: eternal energy, Kala: eternal time).

Aside from being the symbol of Bhuta-Kala, Ogoh-ogoh is considered a symbol of modes of nature that form the malicious characters of living beings. During the procession, the Ogoh-ogoh is rotated counter clockwise three times. This act is done on every crossroads and t-junction of the villages and towns. Rotating the effigies during cremational parade and the eve of Nyepi represents the contact of the bodies with the spirits. It is also aimed to bewilder the evil spirits so that they go away and cease harming human beings. After being paraded on a convoy around the village or town, finally it is burnt to ashes in a cemetery as a symbol of self-purification.

While a day after Nyepi, locally called "Ngembak Geni" day, the community of Banjar Kaja, Sesetan Denpasar held a unique tradition which have been endowed from generation to generations long before the Dutch colonization era called the "Omed-omedan". The word Omed-omedan derives from the word "Omed" ( according to the Bali Indonesian dictionary ), which literally means "to pull", so the word Omed-omedan can be interpreted as pulling each other.

The Omed-omedan tradition in fact is a way for the youth to express their joy and happiness on the Ngembak Geni day as well as an opportunity to be socialize with the others. ( according to the book " Med-Medan, tradisi unik dari Sesetan " by I Made Munggah )


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