If you have not heard of Bali day you have heard of Earth Hour? (Not in holiday Hotels though.) When you are supposed to switch off all electronic devices for 1 hour to support saving the planet? Well… Here in Bali we have it in a larger scale. It’s called Silent Day or in Balinese Nyepi. It is the New Year of the Balinese Saka calendar (in March). It is not like any other new year celebration filled with parties and festivity, here they commemorate it with
Nobody is allowed to work, travel; even no kind of entertainment is permitted. And to respect this old tradition, no one is exempted from it, even non-Hindu residents and tourists. The airport will be closed for the whole day and no flights are allowed to depart or arrive in Bali.
Nyepi itself starts on the New Year day from 06.00 am until 06.00 am on the second day. The night before which is New Year’s Eve is the day for teenagers and young people; it’s their celebration. They are in charge of crafting the most terrifying monsters as big and scary as possible. They are called Ogoh-Ogoh symbolizing all the bad and negativity that reside within men and their environment.
The Ogoh-Oghos are paraded throughout villages by the young folks. The scarier they are the more successful they will be drawing all negativity and demons out of the houses. The whole community is involved in the preparation and organization of this special day. During the procession the younger children carry these huge and heavy Ogoh-Ogohs while the teenagers supervise. The parents hovering with water bottles in their hands making sure their child is alright and hydrated.
It is a mighty spectacle seeing these monsters float through cities and villages at night. The parade ends at the crossroads where bad spirits are then let loose by making the monsters dance and twirl accompanied by the most earsplitting noise possible. The mayhem ends with the burning of the monsters so that the bad spirits don’t come back.
On Nyepi the whole island will be quiet. There will be traditional guards also known as Pecalang securing the streets making sure no one is outside. At night they will ensure no loud sounds and lights disturb the silence.
Many tourists now do want to experience this unique Day. Of course everybody is welcome to join in the fun and pandemonium during the parading of the Ogoh-ogohs. Come and help expel the demons and bad spirits of Bali; a unique experience. But then there is the big silence!
If you stay in Kuta, Legian and Seminyak you will be in the middle of the action before the big silence:
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