Utiket at Nyepi Day
The Nyepi day is the Balinese Day of Silence before Saka New Year. This day should be spend in self-reflection and meditation. Balinese are not allowed to make noise, use the tv or lights. Life on Bali just shuts down for a full day as even the airport and ferry ports are closed for 24 hours. The airport is still staffed in case of emergency landings and also ambulances are allowed to drive on the street today. But Nyepi is more than just the day of silence. In the days before several ceremonies are held in preparation culminating in the Ogoh-Ogoh parade the night before Nyepi Day. In the last weeks every desa (village) has build a horrible demonic creature of bamboo and paper representing the evil spirits and negative elements. On the evening before Nyepi they will be burned to eradicate the evil and start the new year fresh.
Expensive flights just for Nyepi Day
Flight tickets from Bali in the days before Nyepi day were extremely expensive as travelers were going to other places to avoid a full day in their hotel being quiet. The cheapest ticket to Jakarta was over one million Rupiah while just after Nyepi it is just 400.000 Rupiah. But why? We decided to just go to Bali and experience Nyepi ourselves. After arrival in our hotel in Legian on Monday the first thing that stands out is that it is quiet. Many tourists have already left. What also stands out are the many Balinese wearing traditional Balinese clothing. There is a strange atmosphere here in anticipation of Nyepi Day. The party scene has made place for a more religious atmosphere. In restaurants and shops we are often asked if we are staying here for Nyepi day and everybody is happy to hear we are. Balinese are proud of this day and appreciate it if outsiders are here to experience it as well.
Empty Legian Beach
Two days before Nyepi day is Melasti ritual at the beach and the beach is closed for swimming the whole day. As if the Gods were helping it rained the whole day. The normally crowded Legian beach was deserted but it was unclear it was because of the swimming prohibition or because of the bad weather.
Ogoh Ogoh parade
The night before Nyepi is the famous Ogoh Ogoh parade. We were informed the parade in Kuta was the biggest and best so we went there in the late afternoon. We were not really convinced that in the heart of the Sodom and Gomorra of Kuta there would be lots of religiously minded people wanting to invest lots of time in making Ogoh-Ogoh, but we were proofed wrong. Dozens of beautifully constructed, horribly looking huge creatures were parked at the beginning of Jl. Legian. The details of the creatures, the creativity in ideas and construction were amazing. After sundown the parade started in which each creature one by one was being carried by 20 or so people. In front of each where people carrying musical instruments, children with smaller Ogoh Ogoh and even younger children with torches. Upon arrival at the stage a performance was carried out with Balinese music and dancing with the Ogoh-Ogoh. Unfortunately it was extremely crowded there and badly lit so it was difficult to see and follow the performance. But the atmosphere was great and even without seeing much we could hear the music and laughter. The parade lasts for hours but after 3 hours we had seen enough...
Today, Nyepi Day
Today is Nyepi, the Day of Silence. We are not allowed to go outside of the hotel. But it is nice. It is sooo quiet. The only things you hear are birds and leaves moving in the wind. No sound of engines, no pumped-up motorbikes passing by on the street. Yeah for one day it is worth to stay inside. We already decided to go again next year, so for those travelers who are afraid to be in Bali on Nyepi day, don't! Come to Bali and enjoy this amazing experience!
Posted: 23 Mar 2012 10:40:00