The Nyepi event is a Balinese celebration for the new year, where Hindus all over the island commemorate the upcoming year and its blessings by spending an entire day with silence, fasting and self-reflection through meditation.
This celebration begins from the early hours of the morning at People participating in the religious festival are required to spend the day in self-reflection and thus have to completely abstain from any sort of physical exertion or activity that might interfere with their ritual.
During this time, it is natural for tourists to feel intimidated by the strict customs maintained by Bali locals, especially with the restrictions surrounding travel and exploration. However a better understanding of the religious customs can help clarify what tourists, especially those coming with families can do during the time of Nyepi. It will be a special celebration and you can really get the opportunity to experience the Bali culture.
Preceding the actual day of the Nyepi festival, Balinese people perform the Melasti Ritual, which is where they purify and cleanse sacred object and effigies in temples. Afterwards, the Bhuta Yajna Ritual is performed so as to cleanse the world of all negative energy and bring a harmonious balance between mankind and God.
These initial rituals are demonstrated in holy temples all around Bali, and tourists are allowed to observe without interfering. You will also find parades of demonic statues during the Bhuta Yajna Ritual, made from bamboo and tinsel. These represent the evil spirits and energy possessing the world, and they are later burned to purify the world before the commencement of a new year.
During the day of the Nyepi Rituals, a period of silence and lack of activity will follow. The restrictions include no fire, light or electricity, no working, travelling or self-entertainment. Later on, the fasting period begins with Hindus coming together to forgive each other for all sins. This ends the Nyepi festivities.
The day prior to Nyepi tourists can venture out to see the parades in which the streets are full of locals celebrating and watch the Ogoh Ogoh parade where locals are roaming the streets carrying the most amazing “Ogoh Ogohs”, playing drums, pushing gongs and carrying Torches. The Ogoh Ogohs are the shape of mythological, evil creatures and gods which represent the negative aspects of society. After the parade the locals burn the Ogoh Ogohs, the locals believe by banging the drums and making noise all the evil spirits will move into their monster and banish them by burning them to the ground therefore cleansing Bali of any negatives for the next year. This is a great Balinese activity for everyone to get involved in which truly gives you the Bali cultural experience.
During the time of the actual fasting and day of silence, no one is allowed to go outside. Thus, you will have to spend the entire day inbound, unable to leave your hotel or Villa. No commercial outlets are open, which means all stores, restaurants and airports will be closed off completely for 24 hours. You can also expect some power outages and internet shut downs due to the restriction on electricity usage during this time.
It is also expected for travellers to be respectful of the amount of noise they make during this day, as the day of silence demands complete silence for locals. However plenty of the resorts and villas will have loads of activities on to entertain both you and your children so not to worry. We just recommend being respectful of the noise you make, this is a great opportunity as a traveller to take part in this special Balinese celebration by taking the time to self-reflect, meditate and reload yourself with good energy for the year ahead.
Because of commercial stores and outlets being closed off, be sure to Stack up with food, buy a nice board game and enjoy the cultural experience of the day of Silence, Nyepi.
After your day of rest Radius will be back online waiting to help make your day enjoyable. We recommend hiring a driver the next day to go and explore all the different sites where the Ogoh Ogohs were burnt, it’s a great experience and we hope you enjoy it as much as we all do.