where you can witness something you won’t find anywhere else in the world?
March is a very special month in Bali and you are lucky to be here!
Why? Because Bali celebrates its New Year. Nyepi is an utterly unique and absolutely amazing few days, where instead of fireworks there is darkness, and instead of celebrations – silence.
Everything stops for 24 hours on March 25th 2020 at 6 am – even the airport and the ATMs have a quiet moment. The Balinese people celebrate the Saka New Year – Nyepi – as the Bali Day of Silence. It is the quietest day of the year, as the entire island abides by a set of local rules. These bring all routine activities to a complete halt. Roads are void of any traffic and nobody steps outside of their home. Bali beaches are shut down and electricity kept to a minimum. The community police, pecalang, patrol the streets and beaches, so it’s best to enjoy this moment of stillness. Most Balinese and their visitors regard Nyepi as a much-anticipated occasion. Whereas, some expats and those coming from neighboring islands sometimes prefer to escape Bali for Nyepi, due to restrictions that surround the observance.
Nevertheless Nyepi is worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime. Especially, when both the preceding and subsequent days are extra special.
Rituals essentially start three days prior to Nyepi – Day of Silence – with colorful processions known as the Melasti pilgrimages. This is a day to chase the demons and bad spirits away. Pilgrims, dressed in white, from various village temples convey heirlooms on long walks towards the coastlines where elaborate purification ceremonies take place. It is one of the best times to capture on camera the motion of the iconic Balinese processions, as parasols, banners and small effigies offer a cultural spectacle.
Pengrupukan, New Year’s Eve is the opposite of Nyepi – it is loud and joyful. All the festivities take place in the afternoon, and grotesque ogoh-ogoh paper-mâché effigies are paraded throughout the streets. The evening features fire torches and firecrackers, meant to rid the land of malevolent forces.
Ngembak Geni, the day after Nyepi, is when the silence ‘breaks’ at 6am sharp. This day is a local holiday with families visiting each other; it is a time for gatherings and short travels. It is a time to ask for forgiveness.
Nyepi is a truly amazing festival, a New Year celebration, like no other. We highly recommend visiting Bali in order to witness these days of a momentous occasion. Join in the colorful and joyous festivities and immerse yourself in an abundant and fascinating culture.
Dates for Nyepi in Bali for the following years:
2021, March 14
2022, March 3
2023, March 22
2024, March 11
2025, March 29
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