On Wednesday, the 25th of March, 2020, the Balinese people will celebrate Nyepi Day, the most important Balinese holiday of the year. Unlike other new year celebrations around the world, Nyepi is marked by a day of silence. Starting at 6 am, the island goes silent for 24 hours. Businesses remain closed, bikes and cars are parked, the airport is shuttered. Households refrain from cooking, working, and using phones. Although many travelers choose to avoid Bali for Nyepi, others there by chance or by design, become part of a truly a magical experience.
Nyepi celebrations consist of two parts – The “Ogoh-Ogoh” event, which happens on the eve of Nyepi and Nyepi day, a silent day – where the best thing you can do is meditate.
The “science” behind this spiritual Balinese new year is simple. During the “Ogoh-Ogoh” day, the Balinese people parade in the street with ugly handmade creatures dedicated to bring out / call the demons. The Silent Day “Nyepi” is to pretend there is “no life” on the island of Bali. As a result, there is no reason for those evil spirits to remain, so they can leave.
10 Amazing Facts about Nyepi
The Balinese are a spiritual people and show their devotion every day. In addition to Nyepi and the Ogoh Ogoh parade on the eve of Nyepi, several other rituals happen as well. The Melasti Ritual takes place 3-4 days prior. Sacred items from the Pura Sagara (sea temple) are taken to the sea for purification. Participants take seawater back with them to purify the body and the Earth of bad intentions and evil spirits. Once the silence is broken, the people of Bali reunite with neighbors and friends to offer forgiveness as they start the new year.
1- Inspired the World Silent Day – celebrated on 21th of March all over the world.
2- One million liters of fuel are saved during Nyepi’s silent day. It is also prohibited to use electricity except in hospitals.
3 – CO2 emissions are drastically reduced thanks to Nyepi. However, Ogoh-Ogoh puppets are not necessarily eco-friendly (although styrofoam was banned recently).
4 – Nyepi helps to conserve the beautiful and magical Balinese culture among younger generations. Children help to make the Ogoh-Ogoh demons since the mid-1980s).
5- During Nyepi Day, the island is free of traffic, noise, and pollution. Even the airport and Bali’s aerial space is closed!
6- Nyepi is the only time of the year AND only place on Earth where you can do absolutely nothing and feel good about it! Shops, restaurants, and beaches are closed.
7 – Hotels are open for guests but do not check-in or check-out guests. However, many hotels offer Nyepi Day packages which include food for the day and meditation classes.
8 – The Melasti ritual (3-4 days before Nyepi), performed at Pura Saraga (sea temples) purifies sacred items from the temples.
9 – Even the most popular world surf spots are empty. Even though beaches are closed, cliff views are spectacular.
10 – Tenganan ethnic village is the only place where Nyepi is not celebrated in Bali.
Nyepi is a day to be respected. We highly recommend visiting Bali during Nyepi letting you be a part of one of the most wonderful and compassionate cultures. Reconnect with your inner self during this silent day of meditation. Take part in the pageantry of the Ogoh Ogoh parade beforehand. Last but not least, be part of the community of Bali as they offer forgiveness to one another.
Have you, like us, experienced Nyepi in Bali? Do feel free to share your stories below 🙂