Nyepi is the “Bali’s Day of Silence” in the Balinese “Saka” calendar commemorating the start of the Hindu New Year. It falls at the time of the new moon in the months of March or April each year; and this year 2015 is the 21th of March.
Nyepi is a day of complete silence: Balinese refrain from all worldly and physical activities. The streets are deserted, the airport and ports are closed and everybody must remain at home. This is a day of pure meditation.
The rituals start two days before Nyepi, starting with “Melasti” – the Purification Ceremony. People carry all the effigies of the Gods from their village to the beach for spiritual purification, in long and colorful ceremonies. Offerings and holy objects line the path of the colorful procession. This is very beautiful to see.
The day before Nyepi is called “Pengerupukan” or “Tawur Kesanga” on which evil spirit are driven away. All villages in Bali hold a large exorcism ceremony at the main village cross road, the meeting place of demons. The villagers make “Ogoh Ogoh”(demonic statues) symbolizing the evil spirits surrounding our environment which have to be got rid of from our lives. Those statues are carried through the streets in torch-lit parades with villagers performing dances and singing.
This is a unique celebration in the world and the ceremony is very impressive: the music very lively, the dancing very beautiful, and the Ogoh-ogoh statues soooo scary.
Celebrating Nyepi Day – The Balinese New Year, which is the most important Balinese ceremony. Nyepi celebrations is mostly made up of two parts – The “Ogoh-Ogoh” event, which happens on the day the precedes 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, Balinese people parade in the street with ugly handmade creatures, which is dedicated to bring out / call the demons. The Silent Day “Nyepi” is to trick those demons, pretending there is “no life” on the island of Bali, therefore nothing interesting for those bad spirits, so they can leave.
- Inspired the World Silent Day
- One million liter of fuel is saved during Nyepi’s silent day – It is also prohibited to use electricity except in hospitals
- CO2 emissions are drastically reduced thanks to Nyepi – However, Ogoh-ogoh are not made of bio-degradable materials (5,000 of them are paraded every year)
- Nyepi helps to conserve the wonderful and magical Balinese culture among younger generations (Ogoh-Ogoh are mostly made by children and was introduced recently in the 1980’s)
- During Nyepi Day, the island is free of traffic, noise, pollution, even the airport and Bali’s aerial space is closed!
- Nyepi is the only time of the year AND only place on Earth where you can do absolutely nothing without any guilt!
- No hotels check in or check out on Nyepi Day – No shops are opened. Make sure to have kept food at home. Some hotels also propose a “Nyepi package” including meditation.
- Nyepi is preceded by the Melasti ritual (3-4 days beforehand) performed near the sea, in order to purify sacred items from the temples.
- Even the most popular world surf spots are empty – nobody is allowed to surf. And if you stay by the beach, it will be beautiful to witness!
- Tenganan ethnic village is the only place where Nyepi is not celebrated in Bali.
Nyepi is a day to be respected, unique in the world, and we highly recommend visiting Bali during Nyepi – which will be an eye opening on one of the most wonderful culture, and will as well let you reconnect with your inner self during this silent day of meditation