Within the Sounds of Silence

The State News Agency Antara reports that the Council of Traditional Villages in Bali (MDA) and the Hindu Dharma Council (PHDI-Bali) are planning to declare an extraordinary island-wide ‘Traditional Village New Year’ (Nyepi –Nipeng Desa Adat) 18 – 20 April 2020 to accelerate the elimination of COVID-19 on the Island.

The chairman of MDA-Bali, Ida Panglingsir Agung Putra Sukahet, told the press: “This is an effort to complement the ‘Sekala'(physical) and ‘Niskala’ (spiritual) aspects of the cosmos to hasten the end of the threat of COVID.”

Spiritually, the proposed ‘Nyepi-Nipeng Desa Adat’ is closely related to an accompanying small-scale Bhuta Kala Ceremony that should be held before Tilem Kadasa (The dark moon of the tenth month of death) on 22 April 2020.”

Bali’s formal celebration of ‘Nyepi‘ took place on 25 March 2020 and mandated 24 hours of absolute silence spent behind closed doors in the dark. Meanwhile, the “Traditional Village Nyepi” scheduled for 18-20 April only requests traditional villagers to stay inside their homes unless dispensation has been granted to venture outside.

A more lenient and extended form of Nyepi, the 18-20 April Traditional Village Nyepi will NOT require that lights are turned off, Internet service be interrupted, satellite-cable television service be suspended, and that airports and seaports be closed.

The leadership of MDA and PHDI are calling on all people living in Bali, including those living outside a traditional village setting, to observe the “stay-at-home” dictum for the three-day period.

Other than the mandating people to stay at home, the observance of “traditional village Nyepi” will see the lights stay on, television and radio broadcast continue unabated, and Wi-Fi service remains up over the three days.

A formal circular will be issued after 08 April by PHDI and MDA containing the finalized details of the “traditional village Nyepi” that will be shared with Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster.

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