Bali’s day of silence, or Nyepi, is one of the most unique of Bali’s traditions. On this day, which marks the Balinese New Year, the whole island comes to a standstill. Even the international airport closes for 24 hours. It is said that evil spirits visit the island on the day of Nyepi, but finding the island ‘deserted’ they leave again and don’t come back again until the following year.
The Spectacular Ogoh-Ogoh Parades
The event starts the night before Nyepi with the Pengurupukan parades, which is something you definitely won’t want to miss. This is the night that huge effigies of evil spirits called Ogoh-ogoh are paraded through the streets to scare away the any malevolent beings that might be hanging around. In the villages around Candidasa there are parades which are easy to reach from Lotus Bungalows.
All over Bali, kids and teenagers spend weeks working on their Ogoh-ogoh as there are usually prizes for the best ones. Make sure to have your camera ready because the parades are really a sight to see. The road will be shut off and gamelan music will be played throughout the procession. It can really get pretty wild!
After all the Ogoh-ogoh have been paraded down the street everyone heads home and settles in for the day of silence the next day.
The Day of Nyepi
From 6am on the morning of Nyepi until 6am the following morning the Balinese will stay in their homes and abstain from using electricity, lighting fires and physical work. More religious people will spend time in meditation and prayer, but most families spend time together, resting, chatting and keeping the children entertained.
For tourists on the island the rules are somewhat different. You will be asked to stay within the grounds of the hotel, but you will be able to use the internet and swim as long as you keep noise and electricity usage to a minimum. At Lotus Bungalows Candidasa food will still be available in the restaurant but it is a good idea to also have some snacks in case you are peckish.
How Should I Prepare for Nyepi?
Travel – Travel can be difficult on Pengurupuk day so make sure to get to where you will be staying as early in the day as possible. In the afternoon each village will start blocking the roads in preparation for the parades so it can take hours to get anywhere.
Shopping – Shops can be very crowded the day before Nyepi with people stocking up on supplies, so it’s best buy snacks and necessities a couple of days early.
What If I Need to Go Out?
Some people might worry about being prohibited from going out, however, the Pecalang (village security) will allow people through for medical emergencies as well as pregnant women in labor. Otherwise, they are the only people out patrolling the roads, and you can be fined or even arrested if you are found on the streets.
Enjoy Bali’s Day of Silence
Remember Nyepi is just 24 hours and can be the perfect excuse to relax and do nothing but read, unwind and sunbathe for a whole day. To end the day, spend some time stargazing in total darkness. This can be one of the most incredible things about the whole day, and Lotus Bungalows is the perfect spot to watch stars as far as the eyes can see.
Is Nyepi something you would like to experience in Bali? Let us know in the comments below how you would spend a day of silence.