Nyepi Laut, also known as the Sea Seclusion Day, is a sacred day observed by the Balinese in Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan. Nyepi Laut falls on the day of the new moon in the ninth month of the Balinese calendar, usually in September or October. It starts at 6 am until 6 am the next day.
On Nyepi Laut, all people on these islands must abstain from all sea-related activities, such as fishing, sailing, boating, and snorkeling. This is done as a way to show respect and gratitude to the sea, which is considered a crucial source of livelihood and spirituality for the Balinese. Maintaining the relationship between humans and nature is part of the Balinese philosophy called Tri Hita Karana.
Offerings are presented to Dewa Baruna, the god of oceans, rivers, lakes, and all bodies of water. The name Baruna is derived from the Sanskrit word Varuna, which means the protector of water and the air. According to Hindu mythology, Dewa Baruna is considered to be one of the most powerful deities who is worshiped for good weather, safe journeys, and abundance of fish. In Balinese culture, he is also revered as the god of fishermen.
During the 24 hours of this sea seclusion day, residents or tourists can still freely enjoy the beauty of the island and all outdoor activities within the islands – just please stay away from the beach and do not go in the ocean or rivers. And, travelling off the island is not an option unless the next day when all boats are running as normal.
It is important to remember that the ocean is not just a source of economic benefit but also a vital ecosystem that requires care and protection. By respecting the sea during Nyepi Laut and beyond, we can support efforts to preserve the ocean’s health and biodiversity, ensuring that future generations can enjoy its wonders and benefits.