I have a keen interest in learning about other cultures, and different religions around the world. This weekend, I had the pleasure to get to know a delightful woman that was from Indonesia. She was telling me about the Bali day of silence.
It is a yearly Hindu celebration that is commemorated every Isakawarsa (Saka new year) The date changes yearly. The next NYEPI festival is March 17 2018. On that day, while the Irish will be making merry, celebrating St Patrick’s day, the Balinese people will be spending the day in silence, fasting and meditating. Everyone literally stays home, no one ventures out of their houses, there is no working. Even the only airport is closed. The only exception is for security personnel and emergency services responding to life threatening situations, or for women that are in labour. There is no travel, even beaches are off limits. For the strict followers, there is no TV, radio, computer use, electricity, or food consumed. No speaking, just spending the day in self reflection. It begins at 6:00 AM to 6:00AM the following day.
The fact that the whole island of over 4,000,000 does this, fascinates me. It seems almost impossible these days just to get people to put down their phones. You need only look at the countless cases of texting and driving to see that things have gotten out of hand.
Face it, the only time most of us ,would go an entire day without speaking to our spouses, is if they were out, away, or we were so darn mad at them ,that speaking just stops. Yet here we have a culture that celebrates the silence.
How would you do? I can go without food for a day, TV no big deal. Electricity deprivation would be interesting, but I would miss being able to go outside I think most to have a nice walk or tandem ride. Right now I am listening to music, that would go too. Experiencing the day authentically, would be much harder than one would think.
I would happily try it once. The chance to meditate for an entire day would be rewarding. Experiencing the silence. How about you? Would you make certain to leave town, so that you can avoid the whole thing, or would you adhere to that old saying, when in Rome do as the Romans do? It certainly is a topic for conversation. That is, as long as it is any other day than NYEPI.