A new year in Bali is celebrated unlike anywhere else in the world. Nyepi is that magical Hindu day where nobody can leave the house & everyone is forced to have a quiet day. Have you ever heard of it? A few days before “Silence Day” a lot of special happenings take place as well. We’d love to share with you some valuable facts and some do’s & dont’s for this very special day of the year.
The days before
The Balinese people start preparing and celebrating the Hindu New Year weeks before the actual day of silence and 3 days before Nyepi the beautiful Melasti Ceremony takes place. Which is a Hindu ritual to absolve ‘Bhuana Alit’ (small world) and ‘Bhuana Anung’ (the universe). Beautiful parades to the beach accompanied by all the equipment and the symbol of gods to the sea or other water sources. These are believed by Hindus as a place to purify all the elements of this universe. The Balinese people look incredibly beautiful in their white kabaja’s (sarongs) and the whole family walks in parades to the beach.
The night before Nyepi the Balinese people celebrate NYE with impressive ‘Ogoh-Ogoh’ parades through the villages. Ogoh-Ogoh’s are giant statues of the evil spirits made out of paper mache. They often look a bit scary and strange. The parade usually starts around 7pm and is definitely worth to watch!
The first day of the Hindu New Year, which is celebrated with 24 hours of total silence. How magical! The Balinese people follow a ritual with four prohibitions: ‘Amati geni’ or no fire, ‘Amati lelungan’ no travel, ‘Amati karya’ no activity, and ‘Amati lelanguan’ no entertainment. This means empty streets, no electricity, no traveling (the airport is closed) and no lights during the night. It’s a very special day as the Balinese pay respect to the gods of nature by giving them, and yourself, a little break from human routine. How beautiful is that! You’re forced to slow down and take time to reflect.
No electricity, no traveling and total quietness means that you need to prepare yourself well:
- Stock up on food. Not just the day before Nyepi since it will be total madness in the supermarkets, but just 2 or 3 days prior. Get your fave snacks & dishes for example at Motion Cafe, Oma Jamu, Bali Budha or Earth Cafe.
- Buy yourself some candles as well, since this is the only way you can use light during the night.
- Respect the rituals of the Balinese. Check with your ho(s)tel, airbnb or homestay what their preferences are during Silence Day and try to be as quiet as possible.
- Enjoy your ‘day off’. Nyepi is the ultimate day to give yourself a break. Relax, cook, read that book you always wanted to read and go offline for a bit (wi-fi probably doesn’t work either eeek)
- If you have the chance to watch the stars, lay in your garden or sit on your balcony and just stargaze. The sky is absolutely phenomenal!
We vote a day of silence in every single country every year! Ok, thats it sunshine friends. Enjoy this special day if you’re here and we’d love to hear how you’ll be spending your day so let us know in the comments.
Pris & Eve