Are you interested in the cultural side of Bali?
Here is a link to my YouTube channel. I created a little video about Nyepi. Check it out.
If you’ve traveled to Bali, you must have heard about Nyepi Day, also known as the Day of Silence or the Balinese New Year which is celebrated in March depending on the moon cycle.
It is a Hindu celebration and a public holiday which involves fasting and meditation for the locals.
Before and after this special day, a series of rituals and celebrations are held, which are meant to restore the balance between good and evil, Gods, men and nature.
Highlight rituals essentially start 3 days before Nyepi, with colorful processions known as the Melasti pilgrimages. Pilgrims from different village temples all over Bali convey heirlooms on long walks towards the coastlines for elaborate purification ceremonies. It’s one of the best times to photograph an iconic Balinese procession, with parasols, banners and small effigies offering a colorful spectacle.
Nyepi is like the best of New Year and a carnival, a huge feast for the eyes and ears, followed by silence and introspection (instead of hunger and hangovers)!
The famous Ogoh-Ogoh parade takes place across the island. Large scary creatures depicting evil spirits and monsters are made by each village as a
communal effort for weeks leading up to the parade. They are built of papier-mache on bamboo frameworks. Gamelan music accompanies the men and boys carrying the massive figures through the street. The monsters are supposed to attract the evil spirits. The monsters are then burnt at the end of the parade to get rid of all the evil spirits for the new year.
Each village will make at least one Ogoh Ogoh and the best places to watch the parade are along Kuta Beach, Seminyak, Nusa Dua and Sanur. In the main towns (Sanur, Kuta, Denpasar and Ubud) contests have been held for the best Ogoh-Ogoh since the early 80’s.
Most regard Nyepi as a much-anticipated occasion but some tourists are disappointed as Nyepi Day itself is a full day of complete silence and staying indoors takes away one entire day of their holiday, so many non-Balinese living in Bali often escape the island during this period.
Nyepi is actually a great time to experience real silence, to be deprived of this constant sensory stimulus. You get to take the day off everything.
Go swim in the pool if you are in a hotel or just relax and read a book.
Hotels are usually exempted to partake out of necessity but guests are advised to keep noises low and lights dim.
Wherever you happen to be staying this would be a good day to spend indoors.
Next is the actual Nyepi day. From sunrise to sunrise until the following day, the whole island is shut down. Everyone stays in their home or hotels. You won’t fine any cars on the road, no loud TV’s or music, no fires.
Pecalang (local watchmen) are deployed all over the island. Time for meditation and retrospection. At night if a plane was to fly over the island it would not be seen form the sky. Life is turned off…
Nyepi is a very unique celebration and it should be on your bucket list.
There is so much more to Bali than just surfing…