The Magnificent Celebration of Silence
About Bali’s Nyepi Day
If you come to Bali around March this year, you would get a chance to experience one of the most unique and important occasions in Bali, the Balinese Hindu New Year celebration: Nyepi. The Day of Silence, as it's literally called, is a moment where the island stopped its entire activity, in order to purify the whole atmosphere in ultimate tranquility. Not a single person or vehicle is allowed outside for 24 hours in Nyepi, and it is definitely a must-have experience for anyone who plans to have a memorable getaway in Bali. Here we listed some of the most interesting trivias about Nyepi to fuel your curiosity of this one-of-a-kind public holiday.
It Reduces the Pollution Level Significantly
Due to the rule of Nyepi that forbids anyone except Pecalang (Community Patrol) to go outside for a day, Nyepi Day helps to cleanse the air of pollution caused by vehicle usage. Approximately 20,000 tons of Carbon Dioxide are reduced on the day. Not only that, since traveling is prohibited, it helps the local government to save fuel for around one million liters. Globally, Nyepi contributes to help reduce the greenhouse gas emission by 33%.
It Inspires the World Silent Day
Nyepi day is widely acclaimed as a fantastic effort to reduce pollution. An organization called CCC (Collaboration for Climate Change), initiated the World Silent Day based on Nyepi, and it has been officially approved by the United Nations. World Silent Day is set every March 21st. It aims to decrease all human activities around the globe that would bring bad impacts to the earth, such as global warming or climate change.
The Before and After Celebration
Nyepi is a grand celebration for Balinese Hindu believers. In-between the 24-hours of tranquility, it is celebrated with utmost festivity through several events. The night before Nyepi is reserved for Ogoh-Ogoh Parade, where local people from each Banjar community will go out, carrying many forms and shapes of 'Ogoh-Ogoh' statues. These statues were made from styrofoam and bamboo to symbolize the evil spirit, and will be paraded around the city. Everyone can participate and witness this incredible parade, and you will see many streets filled with people.
Then, a day after Nyepi, another unique festival called 'Omed-Omedan' will take place. It is a ritual of hugging, tugging and kissing between two groups of young men and women from the Banjar community. This festival will always be held at the same place: the street of Sesetan, Denpasar. The youth will be separated into two big groups and 'clash' one another, while doused with water. The purpose of this ritual is to maintain good relationships with society and chase bad luck away. Read more about Nyepi's ritual in our previous article here.
Only Pecalang are allowed to roam during Nyepi
As mentioned above, Balinese local communities always deploy groups of 'Pecalang' or Community Patrol during Nyepi. They are the only ones who are allowed to walk around outside on the day, and can be easily distinguished by the uniform. Pecalang usually will wear a traditional 'udeng' hat, black vest, and white and black 'saput poleng' sarong cloth around their waist. Their main duty is to keep the street safe for 24-hours where everyone else in the islands are comfortably tucked in the house, hotel, or villa.
The Starry Sky of Nyepi Night
Not only the ultimate tranquility and fresh air, Nyepi is also known to have the best night view. Since there is no pollution or artificial light from electric lamps whatsoever, the night sky will be way brighter than usual. This makes hundreds of thousands of stars visible on Nyepi night. Unfortunately, you are still not allowed to go outside on Nyepi night, but if you can, gaze unto the starry sky from your window or rooftop to witness one of the most magnificent scenery ever.
This year, Nyepi will be held on 22nd of March. It is recommended that you arrive before this wonderful occasion to experience it first-hand. Stock up with your favorite food and drinks, books, video games, or movies and enjoy a full 24-hours of utmost tranquility. The internet connection will officially shut down during Nyepi, but most villas, hotels or homestays have wi-fi providers that would still function during the day. Some important places such as hospitals will also be operating normally in case of emergency, and electricity is still allowed in public staying places such as five-star hotels and resorts. Bottom line, you will not lose anything by staying in Bali during Nyepi Day. The island would still provide convenience while you get soaked in the enticing silence.
So, don’t hesitate to experience the wonderful Nyepi Day in Bali!
By Billy Bagus