Bali & Beyond - - CONTENTS -

Balinese rit­u­als be­fore and af­ter Nyepi

As the last fortress of Hin­duism in In­done­sia, the na­tion with the world’s largest Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion, the Balinese on the Is­land of the Gods are known for their ded­i­ca­tion to their rit­u­als, one

of them be­ing the an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of the Saka New Year, known as the Day of Si­lence or Nyepi.

Decades ago, Amer­i­can an­thro­pol­o­gist Clif­ford James Geertz in his book en­ti­tled “Ne­gara: The The­atre State in Nine­teenth-Cen­tury Bali”, in­tro­duced the term “the­ater of state” to de­scribe the power of Bali Is­land and de­fined its ex­is­tence and ob­jec­tives through drama and re­li­gious rit­u­als. Geertz com­bined ethno­graphic un­der­stand­ing which is fo­cused on the role of rit­u­als as a part of po­lit­i­cal power among the is­land’s elites. He also re­vealed the pow­er­ful po­si­tion of the rit­ual and, most im­por­tantly, the ne­ces­sity of the­atri­cal qual­ity in the Balinese cer­e­monies.

Nyepi is not only a rit­ual but also a well-staged the­atri­cal piece that is de­signed to make spec­ta­tors re­al­ize one im­por­tant value; that

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