Nyepi begins every year (different dates depending on Bali calendar) at 0600 and lasts for 24hrs- 0600 the next day.
Nyepi means “to keep silent”. This day falls on the day after the dark moon of the equinox when day and night are approximately equal length. No one leaves their homes or hotels and even the airport “Ngurah Rai” closes for 24hrs!
Leading up to Nyepi, children and men of all ages all over Bali will be seen building Ogoh-Ogoh statues. These Ogoh-Ogoh range in size and complexity and can be huge, sometimes up to 25-feet / 7+ meter tall.
Ogoh-Ogoh are symbols of mythological beings or demons and can be funny, political or a representation of Good triumphing over Evil. The day before Nyepi, a procession is held through our village and the Ogoh-Ogoh are carried on the shoulders of groups of young and old. They are proudly displayed on the soccer field and a competition is held and prizes awarded to the best. There is a festival like atmosphere abounding with music, stalls and family groups all converging to check-out the best! They can be very expensive to make! One statue can cost hundreds of thousands – tens of millions of rupiah ($10 – $1000 USD).
The Balinese Hindu’s believe that displaying the Ogoh-Ogoh will disorientate and appease evil spirits. Evil spirits will then leave the village and cease to harm any human beings. Once the procession has taken place, the Ogoh-Ogoh will be taken to the cemetery to be burnt with the ashes a symbol of purification.
NYEPI Day in Bali
This New Year celebration is unlike anything or like anywhere else on the planet. Bali celebrates ‘Saka’ or New Year as the Day of Silence, the quietest day of the year. Everyone, including tourists, abides by a strict set of local rules which includes staying at home, no lights after dark, no cooking smelly foods and definitely no noise. This brings all routine activities to a complete halt. Hotels are asked to cover their windows, all shops are closed, all!
There is NO traffic on the roads and nobody steps outside their home. Most Balinese and visitors regard it with anticipation. Some expats and those coming from neighbouring islands prefer escaping Bali for the day rather, due to restrictions that surround the observance. Some visitors check coinciding dates ahead before their Bali trip, avoiding it altogether.
The 4 MAIN rules of NYEPI DAY are:
Similar to a public holiday in most countries, all shops and businesses are required to close for 24hours. Unlike other countries, for this day all businesses means all businesses. With an exception for local police and emergency personal, everyone is required to stay home or in their accommodation. Not to worry, this is a great time to chill out by your pool and relax without the temptation of leaving your villa.
No lighting fires (or lights of any kind)
For a local this would mean, no electricity or lighting of fires. As a tourist, it is also expected out of respect that light is kept to a minimum after dusk, we suggest keeping your curtains drawn and only use light when necessary. Don’t worry, your villa will have electricity for you to charge your devices and keep cool in the air-conditioning.
No entertainment or pleasure
You will find that local TV stations will be switched off and mobile data services may be slow or limited. This however won’t effect the wifi in your villa and thus besides enjoying all the activities inside you villa offline (reading a good book, floating in your pool, playing board games), you will still be able to surf the web as much as your heart desires.
You will find that no planes will arrive or depart for 24hours and thus trickles down to no movement of cars, motorbikes as well as people on foot. You are required to stay inside you villa.
Nyepi is worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime, especially since the preceding and following days offer rare highlights to behold! It is a very special experience not only for the Balinese, but also for anyone in Bali during Nyepi.
If you are in Bali during Nyepi make sure you do not plan any traveling or outside activities. https://www.vilondo.com/bali-travel-guide/nyepi-day/