Experiencing Bali’s Nyepi Festival: A Day of Silence
With its enchanting beaches, coral reefs, azure seas, and emerald-green rice terraces, Bali has long been an idyllic island. Frequented by sun worshippers, surfers, yogis, and nature-lovers alike, Bali has many colorful festivals deeply-rooted in religious and cultural traditions. Dating back to the time of Hindu kingdoms, Nyepi, the Balinese ‘day of silence’, commemorates the New Year according to the Balinese Saka calendar. It is a Hindu celebration and public holiday in Indonesia that is celebrated mostly in Bali, usually taking place in early March.
Lasting 24 hours from 6.00am in the morning until the following day, it is a day of silence, fasting, and meditation for the Balinese locals. Anything that interferes with this day of self-reflection is also restricted, so there is no lighting of fires, work, travel, or entertainment allowed. Even Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport is closed for the duration of Nyepi.
Bali’s usually bustling streets and neighborhoods are strangely peaceful and empty. There’s no noise from TVs or radios, and few signs of activity can be seen. The only people to be seen on the streets are the pecalang – traditional security guards who patrol the streets to ensure that the austerity is being adhered to.
Visitors to Bali are free to do as they wish inside their hotels, but no one is allowed onto the beaches or streets. This is a great opportunity to reflect and to spend time with your loved ones.
Another highlight of Nyepi is the Ogoh-ogoh parade, which takes place on the eve of Nyepi. Ogoh-ogoh are large, handcrafted effigies that take the form of mythological angels and demons.
The main purpose of Ogoh-ogoh is to purify the natural environment of any spiritual pollutants emitted from the activities of living creatures – especially humans! The Ogoh-ogoh effigies are carried in a procession on the shoulders of the men around villages and town squares. This procession is usually accompanied by orchestral music performed by local school children.
On Ngembak Geni, the day after Nyepi, which translates to ‘relighting the fire’, social activities pick up again quickly, as families and friends gather to ask forgiveness from one another.
If you’re looking for a truly unique experience while in Bali, you’ll find the serenity of Nyepi, a surprising relief from your daily hustle and bustle.
For bookings and more information on festivals in Bali, get in touch with us at: [email protected].