AMBIENCE of Banyuning village, Singaraja, looked different from usual day on Sunday (Sep 16). Main roads and alleys leading to residential areas seemed deserted without noisy vehicle traffic. Similarly, shops and traditional markets at Banyuning were totally closed. Cessation of activity made by Banyuning residents was in association with the implementation of Nyepi tradition falling on black moon of third month in Balinese calendar believed as a manifestation of devotion in welcoming and appreciating the natural fertility.
Compared to Nyepi or Day of Silence in Bali in general, the Nyepi celebration at Banyuning was not so far different. On Saturday afternoon (Sep 15), resident held a pecaruan or exorcism ritual at village intersection and then was resumed with the pengerupukan tradition followed by all the people around the area. Residents carried a torch and took holy water in village temple. This ritual paraphernalia was to ward off evil spirits in each house compound. Then, from the morning until night, residents performed abstinences.
Usual bustling atmosphere at Banyuning due to frenzied activities of residents suddenly fell into silence. No noticeable activities could be found as usual. Despite doing abstinences, yet customary apparatus still allowed vehicles to pass through the main road in the region. While no single native to Banyuning dared to go out of their home before the seclusion was completed.
Chief of Banyuning customary village, Ketut Damuh, on the sidelines of pecaruan ritual predicted the residents of Banyuning had been performing the seclusion ritual since the thirteenth century. In general, the abstinences practiced by residents were not much different from the seclusion performed every year by the Hindus in Bali. The abstinences included the amati karya (doing no activity), amati geni (lighting no fire), amati lelanguan (enjoying no entertainment) and amati lelungaan (going nowhere).
The difference of Day of Silence celebrated at Banyuning had a special significance as an expression of devotion to welcome natural fertility. Therefore, it was different from the philosophy of Nyepi celebrated by the Hindus nationally in which the Nyepi was to welcome the Caka New Year.
Damuh added that on Sunday (Sep 16) first of all customary villagers of Banyuning implemented a unique tradition namely fighting for the sacred fire and holy water used for the purification ritual for evil spirits in their respective home. The sacred fire and holy water were used by villagers to dispel evil spirits in each house compound before celebration of Nyepi across the village. “The holy water is sprinkled around the house to purify the courtyard, while the fire is used to ward off evil spirits,” he explained. (BTN/kmb)