Saturday, April 4, 2009

Balinese New Year (or, Happy Nyepi from an American in Bali)






The last two weeks have been a delicious adventure in Bali, thanks to our hosts Rob and Stacey from Arcangelo Productions. "Hosts" is too formal of a word; they have become family and part of our bonding occurred on the Balinese New Year called Nyepi (pronounced Nippy). This is the day when Bali shuts down - even the airport! - and all are confined to their homes where quiet prevails and no lights are permitted. 
There were many ceremonies leading up to this day, and one of them is Melasti or Mekiyis. For this occasion there is a long procession to the sea, populated by a gamelin orchestra and members of nearby villages who carry their temple accessories. Once they get to the beach, there is some playful running with the shrines before prayers are offered to the sea. Because we are used to saying "Happy New Year" or "Merry Christmas" we asked locals what they say to each other on that day. They would laugh, not quite sure why that was so important to us. They don't share our need to acknowledge a special day with a special greeting. So we took it upon ourselves to say "Happy Nyepi" to each other and jokingly wonder what gifts were under our non-existent Nyepi Tree. 

Here are a few photos from this event. I am grateful to the Balinese for not feeling threatened or imposed upon by cameras on this sacred day.

4 comments:

  1. Jane,

    It all looks so otherworldly as I sit here at my mac in Rochester, Michigan on a chilly evening.! I can't wait to see what else you have up your sleeve. Thanks for letting me in to the world of Bali.

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  2. Beautiful images.
    Everywhere we went in Bali, either Michael and I or Stacie and I would say....
    Jane is just going to love this scene or this place - what a wealth of opportunities there are in bali for stunning images. It would take a year to capture even just a part of the richness in their culture.
    x

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  3. SO glad you are back! These are wonderful images -- sounds like such a fabulous experience! I have a BIT more of a feel for the people and place after reading Eat Pray Love, but it's so good to actually SEE them. (Loved the e-mails, too! Thanks!)

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  4. How wonderful to have a bit of the colorful magic that is Bali enter my cloudy little corner of the woods. Thanks Jane!

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Thank you for your comments! It's always good to hear what you have to say.