Nyepi, or also known as Day of Silence in Bali, is one of the most unique cultural celebrations in the world. During this day, a compulsory silence on the whole island is reserved for 24 hours welcoming the Saka New Year in the Balinese Hindu calendar. Everyone on the island, including non-Hindu and tourists, should comply accordingly and stay at home or at the hotel with limited lights and activities. Then, what is actually celebrated during this day, and what are other facts about "Nyepi" Day of Silence in Bali that make it unique?
Celebration of Saka New Year
Nyepi or Day of Silence in Bali is a series of celebrations to welcome Saka New Year according to the Balinese calendar. A day prior to the New Year is devoted to self-reflection, fasting, and meditation for the Hindu Balinese from 6 AM until 6 AM the next morning. In this way, it is hoped to bring a brand new life in the new year, leaving all the bad and sorry behind and being mindful of the coming future.
Day of Silence
As a public holiday, not only school and work are off, but in Bali itself, all residents should stay inside, and all activities on the island are stopped, including all public activities in the airport, harbor, tourist destinations, beaches, streets, etc. – unless the hospital and other emergency public services. Everything which might interfere with the silence is restricted, such as entertainment, work, traveling, sounds or music, even fire, and electricity. Although some hotels let their guests do some activities inside the hotels, no one is allowed onto the beaches or streets.
However, since there is no electricity at night, you can try to go outside to your yard or garden, and see the bright twinkling stars in the dark sky of Bali. It is one of the magical, silent, and peaceful moments not everybody can experience.
During Nyepi or Day of Silence in Bali, the only ones allowed to go outside are "pecalang" (traditional Balinese security personnel), who would patrol the streets to ensure all prohibitions are followed, and emergency vehicles for life-threatening conditions.
Ogoh-ogoh parade on Nyepi Eve
Nyepi Eve, or the night before Nyepi, is celebrated differently across the island, but they generally take "ogoh-ogoh", the evil-look giant puppet representing Balinese Hindu mythological demonic beings, to the street for the parade; it is also known as Ngrupuk Parade. It usually starts around 4 to 5 PM on the main streets in Bali, but you can try to arrive earlier to save a good spot in the crowds coming up.
In Karangasem Regency, Nyepi Eve is celebrated by doing firefight or called Perang Api in Balinese culture, which is performed by locals by throwing burning coconut husks at each other to fear the evil spirits.
ATMs and stores are closed
Not to mention, stores and other places are closed during Nyepi day. But be prepared earlier because stores, money changers, ATMs, and everything else are closed for operation starting from 12 PM a day before Nyepi Day to prepare for ogoh-ogoh parade and the closure of some streets.
Nyepi or Day of Silence in Bali is definitely one of the Bali cultures you should witness at least once in a lifetime.