Nyepi in Bali
Another year has gone by and it is almost Nyepi again in Bali. Most tourists that come to Bali the first time have never heard of it and are quite surprised about what actually happens here. Basically Nyepi is probably the most important religious holiday in Bali and it is also called the silent day. This March 9th Bali will literally come to a standstill, the airport will close down, no vehicles will be allowed to drive on the streets, no ships will arrive.
What happens the day before is however not be missed if you are a tourist and already in Bali. Ogoh Ogoh parades will happen in many different villages, from Pemuteran over Tulamben all the way to south Bali and also in between. One of the best spots to watch the parade in the south is actually the bypass in Sanur as the roads will be closed for the traffic in the evening of March 8. Probably the best to compare the parade is with something like carnival where huge Monsters, animals or other fictional creatures out of strengthening bamboo poles, Styrofoam, paper and paint are carried through the streets. Even very young kids will make their own little Ogoh Ogoh “Monster” and you can see the joy and fun in their faces when they are allowed to finally bring it out and dance with it on the streets. Some structures take month to build, some are the sizes of cars, some even bigger like trucks, and we are not kidding.
Some of the design and structural strength is impressive to say the least. The parade in Sanur will start at around 8pm and will last several hours, afterwards everyone will go home and prepare for the next day to meditate, fast or self reflect.
Needless to say all businesses will be closed during this day and no work should be done anyway during the day of silence. In the evening no outside lights will be allowed and windows will be covered if small lights need to be turned on inside. As a downside this will mean you can’t roam around freely in the streets and the Pecalang will check and make sure no one does. On the upside however it is one of the best nights in Bali to watch out and have a look at the sky and see the stars. Just imagine all Bali has literally no artificial lights on and hopefully it will be a clear unclouded night. We are all looking forward to it and actually think a day like this would be good to have all over the world for people to take a break from their busy working lives, spend a day with the family or simply enjoy a day of silence.