A Day Of Silence, Balinese New Year Known As Nyepi
It’s going to be oh so quiet come the 7th of March. Why? It is Bali’s official day of silence known as Nyepi Day.
What Is Nyepi?
Whilst many cultures celebrate the beginning of a New Year with a party or loud celebration, the opposite can be said for Balinese New Year. The six day celebration of Balinese New Year is in fact dedicated to silence - Nyepi.
Nyepi, meaning to keep silent, is a Hindu celebration marking the beginning of a New Year. It is a time to cleanse the island and oneself of any wrongdoings or bad omens from the previous year, setting forward a more positive path for the year to come. On the third day of the celebrations, the whole island transforms into Nyepi - a complete 24hrs of silence.
What Is Involved In Nyepi?
In the lead up to Nyepi Day, locals choose to regenerate their bodies, soul and mind by participating in purification rituals. This is known as the Melasti Ceremony where a number of Balinese Hindus show up in colourful traditional attire offering gifts to cleanse their bodies of evil spirits.
In the evening before D-day, the Ogoh Ogoh parade - a parade to symbolise renewal - is set within the streets of Taur Kasanga. Balinese men and boys parade large figurines depicting mythical demons to scare away the evil spirits, which are burnt at the end of the parade to signify new beginnings. If you are looking to attend a parade we recommend heading to Munggu, Teuku Umar Simpang Enam and Puputan in Denpasar.
What Happens On Nyepi Day?
Nyepi Day commences from 6:00 am on the 7th of March to 6:00 am 8th of March 2019. The island transforms as an eery, tranquil calmness descends onto the island. Everything shuts down, from the airport to local businesses. Hotels are asked to cover their windows, no candles or lights are lit in Balinese homes and there are no people or vehicles on the street. It is truly a special experience, not only for the Balinese people but for the visitors and tourists that lay witness to the special day. Leisurely tip: If you are in Bali during Nyepi make sure you do not plan any traveling or outside activities.
Tourists Visiting During Nyepi
Nyepi is the perfect excuse to do absolutely nothing! With shops and restaurants closed this is the day for you to laze poolside or in your villa and enjoy the luxurious comforts of your hotel or villa. Practice yoga, meditate, read a good book, enjoy cards with friends or a DIY spa treatment to really relax.
Leisurely tip: If you’re staying in a hotel or private villa double check whether food or meals will be provided. If not, spend a few days before Nyepi buying groceries and prepping for the day of silence. Keep in mind, any noisy utensils, aka blenders, won’t be able to be used so really plan out your day and what you’re going to eat! Secondly, the roads do close early the day before Nyepi in preparation for the Ogoh-Ogoh parade. Avoid travelling long distances during this period as it may be a wee bit difficult to get back home.
A Week Of Rituals
Following on, a set of rituals will occur during the week. This includes the Yoga Brata ritual in which locals and foreigners are encouraged to meditate and reflect. Then the Dharma Shanti Ritual which aims to close off the sacred week by reciting ancient scriptures. This is truly one of Bali’s most enlightening culture experiences and a beautiful opportunity to witness the wonders of Hindu culture.