Nyepi – Unique Balinese Holiday
Many people around the world celebrate religious ceremonies and festivals. Different religions have holy days they mark with a variety of traditions. Many of these are similar throughout the world such as Christmas for Christians. The celebrations of Christmas and New Years Eve are similar throughout many countries. However, many people throughout the world boast traditions and celebrations that are uniquely their own. Bali is home to one such unique celebration: Nyepi.
Nyepi can be translated as “The Day of Silence”. It falls on the Lunar New Year according to the Balinese calendar. Although there are several areas of India that celebrate the Lunar New Year as well, these celebrations vastly differ. Bali is different from much of the rest of Indonesia as it’s a Hindu majority island. The ancient beliefs and traditions of this religion go hand in hand with what makes Bali special. This is the biggest festival of the year on the island and with all of the celebrations together lasts around one week. There is no real comparative for this religious holiday.
The Ogoh Ogoh Parade
The first day of the festival is the Melasti Ritual, three or four days before Nyepi. This is a water purification ritual for Balinese and takes place at temples near the sea or large lakes. The next ritual is commonly known as the parade of the “Ogoh Ogoh”. Although it happens the day before Nyepi, the planning of it starts weeks or months in advance. “Ogoh Ogohs” are giant monsters and demons that are lovingly handcrafted from paper mache. These monsters represent evil spirits that need to be chased off of the island.
The “Ogoh Ogoh” night is the New Years Eve celebration. The people gather in their villages and towns to parade the giant statues throughout the streets. It’s a time of laughter and fun as the residents all come together for a big party. In larger urban areas, the parade can last hours with dozens of unique creations and the music that accompanies it. This event normally finishes before midnight. Although in past days it ended with the ritual burning of the “Ogoh Ogoh” this doesn’t happen as frequently anymore.
Nyepi – A Day of Silence
The following day, New Years Day, the silence begins. From 6am there is to be no noise or lights for the following 24 hours. All businesses on the island close, including the international airport. Everyone is to stay home and reflect and offer forgiveness. Electricity, lights, fire, work, and noise are all stopped on this day. The entire island is quiet and even the dogs seem to know as there is very little barking. The night is an incredible experience as the combination of no moon or electricity means the sky lights up with stars. Star gazing from the balcony on this evening is like no other in the year. The following morning at 6am is the official end of the Nyepi celebration. The following day marks many festivities as families gather to offer forgiveness and celebrate a new year.
Although to outsiders it may seem like torture not being able to turn on the light or watch TV, Nyepi truly is a special day. The freedom from gadgets and communication for one day of the year does feel liberating. Nyepi mainly falls in March and can offer a great addition to any holiday. If you have time before or after your Samata Luxury Yacht experience to spend time in Bali during this holiday then we highly recommend it. Simply google “Nyepi” to find out what date it falls on every year. In 2022 it falls on the 3rd of March.