Nyepi: Bali’s New Year’s Day of Complete Silence
On Nyepi day, which is New Year’s day in the Balinese Saka Calendar, the island of Bali turns off all lights and sounds, stops all traffic, deserts all worldly activities, and meditates, while complete silence and serenity reigns over the entire island.
The Balinese new year is celebrated over six days. On the third day, there is Nyepi, the day of silence. The island comes to a halt. There are no flights scheduled, no one can leave or enter Bali at this time. Everything is closed and no light is meant to be lit. Hotels have some leeway on this, because of the tourists, but they cover their windows and there are a minimal number of staff working.
No one is allowed to drive or walk around, and everyone is meant to stay indoors. There are even watchmen who patrol the streets to make sure no one is outside.
Nyepi falls on the day after the spring equinox and is a day of silence, self-reflection, meditation and in some cases, fasting. The Balinese who aren’t Hindu also observe these rules out of respect for their fellow Balinese people.
One fun part of the Balinese new year is the Ogoh-Ogoh parades on ‘Nyepi Eve,’ for the Bhuta Yajna ritual. Large, scary-looking statues are carried through the streets with lots of music and noise. They are brought to the beach in a torch-lit procession while people bang pots and beep horns to make as much noise as they can, to scare away evil. This is called mabuu-buu. The statues are of demons, representing negative elements.
This is a really cool tradition to see, so if you are in Bali make sure you get out to see this.
Tips for Nyepi Day
If you are in Bali this week,book your accommodation in advance, make sure the place you are staying at has food facilities, and that you have enough to amuse yourself for the day.
You will be able to travel to and from Bali the day before Nyepi, and the day after, but if possible, you should book your boat tickets etc in advance, so you can leave the day after Nyepi if you wish.
Stock up on snacks and a few beers, and you will be fine!
Nyepi: What You Need to Know
* Nyepi falls on the following dates:
2019: March 7
2020: March 25
2021: March 14
2022: March 3
2023: March 22
2024: March 11
2025: March 29
It is a six-day celebration that ends with New Year’s Day, Ngembak Geni.
A purifying ritual in temples near the sea. People bring offerings to the sea, and items to be purified.
Bhuta Yajna Ritual / ‘Nyepi Eve’
This ritual gets rid of negative elements. In some areas, sacrifices are made, as the spilling of blood is said to be purifying, and an offering, along with other food items.
The procession of the ogoh-ogoh statues takes place, amidst lots of noise to scare away negative elements. In some cases, the statues are burnt afterwards. Make sure you go out and see the procession to the beach, it’s not to be missed.
March 7, 2019 – Nyepi, Day of Silence
No light, electricity, no working or entertainment, fasting. Silence and self-reflection.
Everything is back to normal. You can go outside. All shops and restaurants may not open, and those that do will open later in the day. There is a flea market at the beach, and the statues can be viewed there.
Balinese ask each other for forgiveness, and there are other rituals carried out. The statues may be burned, and the Omed-Omedan ritual takes place. Unmarried people between the ages of 17 and 30 gather, pray and then stand men opposite women. They kiss and people throw water over them. I didn’t get to see this, but it sounds like something you should check out.
Experience the quiet and peaceful rhyme of silence at Bali…
We look forward to welcoming you to our Bali.
Indoasia Tour & Travel