When visiting this island of paradise, besides enjoying nature, witnessing the unique Bali cultural experiences can be one of the remarkable moments in your life. Here are some unique Bali cultural experiences to witness during your visit.
Nyepi or Day of Silence
One of the Bali cultural experiences is a silent day called Nyepi, when all residents in Bali, including tourists, should stay inside and obey the restrictions of no fire, no light, no working, no traveling, and no entertainment from 6 AM until 6 AM the next day. No activities are allowed outside all over the island, including airports, stores, schools, offices, etc. with the exception of hospitals and other emergency public services. Although some hotels let their guests do their activity inside the hotels, no one is allowed onto the beaches or streets.
Celebrating Saka New Year, Nyepi day is devoted to self-reflection, fasting, and meditation for the Hindu Balinese. There is nothing you can do to participate on Nyepi itself besides relaxing and feeling the silence and peace you cannot find anywhere else. During the night, we can enjoy the tons of twinkling stars in the magical sky of Bali.
During Nyepi Eve itself, Balinese people celebrate Ngrupuk Parade by taking "Ogoh-Ogoh", the evil-look giant puppet representing Balinese Hindu mythological demonic beings, for the convoy to join the street parade. This is definitely one of the Bali culture parades you should witness at least once in a lifetime. Besides Ngrupuk Parade, Nyepi Eve in Karangasem Regency 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.
A day after Nyepi, Balinese people do the mud baths tradition to neutralize and evict evil spirits, called Mebuug-buugan. If you are an enthusiast of the culture trip, then you may not miss this Bali cultural tradition happening in Kedonganan Beach, Jimbaran.
The Melasti ceremony is a purification ritual held three days before Nyepi Day, which is done for the purpose of cleansing the human body and the entire earth from evil spirits through the "water of life." As one of the biggest Bali cultural experiences on the island, thousands of local Hindu Balinese with white color Balinese costumes traveling together to the closest natural source of holy water, carrying all sacred God symbols from their temples to be purified before putting them back and kept it sacred.
Perang Pandan, also called the Pandan battle, is a unique Bali cultural tradition happening only on this island. The fight, which takes place in Tenganan Bali village, uses a tied packet of sharped-edge pandanus leaves in one hand, and a woven bamboo or rattan on another hand as a shield; it's performed by the boys and young men of the villagers. This fight is dedicated to Indra, the Hindu God of the war and sky, and can be witnessed in a culture trip around the 5th month in Balinese calender or around June every year.
Ngaben is one of the important Bali cultural experiences of the Hindu funeral ritual in Bali, which is basically a Hindu Balinese cremation ceremony to send the dead to the next life (reincarnation). As one of the important ceremonies in Bali, the preparation of Ngaben includes Bade (a tower-like construction that has multiple levels – the more levels the construction has, the important the person was in their life) and a Lembu (an ox-shaped coffin where the deceased's body will be cremated in, only used when the deceased is of high caste) which will be put into fire by a priest with Balinese music of battle song plays in the background. Twelve days later, the family comes to collect the ashes into the coconut shell and scatter them in the ocean.