Hari Raya Nyepi or also called the Day of Silence in Bali is also known as the Balinese New year. This year it falls on Saturday 17th of March 2018. Nyepi day is a public holiday and the entire island shuts down for 24 hours from 6 am to 6 am the next morning. Yes including the airport! Silence has to be observed by everybody on the island and tourists are not exempt from this strict rule. The streets are patrolled by the local village security to enforce the rules of Nyepi.
During 24 hours complete silence has to be observed. This means working, travelling or using any electricity is not allowed. For the Balinese Hindus this day is about self-reflection and to connect more deeply with God. According to ancient myths, the island goes into hiding from evil spirits, if they’d fly over Bali they’d think Bali is a deserted island.
The day before Nyepi the Ogoh Ogoh parade takes place around sunset. Ogoh Ogoh’s are giant statues representing mythological beings, mostly demons made out of paper and bamboo. These giant statues are paraded through the streets and villages with a lot of music. The idea is to make as much noise as possible to scare off evil spirits. Traditionally the Ogoh Ogoh’s are burned as a ritual after the parade, a symbol of getting rid of evil and negativity in life.
Several days before Nyepi, the Melasti ritual takes place. This opens a 6 day festival of cleansing and purification of oneself and the world. The Melasti rituals take place at the beach all over Bali. In Hindu belief water from lakes or the oceans is considered the source of life. In the Melasti ritual, the world is cleansed of all things evil and bad karma.
Please plan your activities accordingly to respect the local ceremonies. On Nyepi Day the rule is very strict for absolute silence. In your hotels or villa’s please try not to use any light or electricity. If you do happen to need some light, make sure to close the curtains or blinds so the light is not visible on the outside.