Each year, between March and April, the people of Bali celebrate their traditional new year, known as Nyepi. The day itself falls on the first new moon some time in March. Preparations begin a month or so before the festival, with the construction of large bamboo and papier-mâché demonic effigies called ogoh-ogohs by each village. These representations of evil spirits are paraded through the village, accompanied by a cacophony of gongs and cymbals, on the eve of Nyepi, called Tawur Agung Kesanga. On reaching the main square or intersection, the ogoh-ogohs are set on fire. The noise, music and flames are supposed to chase away the demons for another year.
Nyepi itself is a day of total silence. No work is done, no fires may be lit, and no one should be seen outside. Most of these rules even apply to tourists, so you need to be aware of this when planning your trip. On the day of Nyepi, the airport is closed (yes,closed), no taxis are allowed on the street and room blinds should be closed. Most hotels will allow you to freely use the hotel facilities, but you are asked not to leave the hotel grounds. Since a lot of the hotel workers are from Java, they are allowed to work on this day, while native Balinese get to practice their day of contemplation.
This year, Nyepi Day falls on 14 March 2021. This is an estimated date, based on lunar cycles. It may be off by a day or two – or a month.
Kindly be informed of the below situations during Nyepi Day:
- The silence begins sunrise around 6:00 am of 14 March 2021 and will go on until the next 24 hours
- All shops are closed on Nyepi Day
- Guests has to stay inside the resort area
- When listening to the music or watching TV in the villa, keep the sound at minimum level
- There will be no traffic on that day in the whole Bali island
- Ngurah Rai airport will be totally closed on 14 March 2021, so there will be neither arrival nor departure in the airport on that day. All connecting airports around the globe have been informed in advance about this.
- Across Bali, the activities are allowed only in emergency rooms and maternity section of hospitals and the arrival section of airport. Any emergencies are taken into consideration and tolerated. The whole island is in silence.
However, operational activities and services in the resort will operate normally.
One day before Nyepi, Pengerupukan Day, there will be a nearest Ogoh-Ogoh parade performed by our neighboring Nagi villagers in the evening. Ogoh-Ogoh is the manifestation of a person, an object or anything that disturbs human lives. This parade is an exorcism ceremony at the main village crossroad, the meeting place of the demons. Beforehand, there will be a Perang Api (fire war) to start the parade with.
“Perang Api (Fire War) is usually performed by young men one day prior to Nyepi Day. Using fire balls of dried coconut husks, the men throw the flaming balls at each other symbolizing the courage to drive demons away. The sparks of fire from the Perang Api symbolizes that a man’s biggest enemy is himself and when he can overcome this, he will have the ultimate happiness.”
Silence day amidst pandemic
Authorities in Bali has set a number of limitations for celebrations around the Balinese Day of Silence or Nyepi on March 14, along with the expectations that local residents will still adhere to previous advisories from the central and provincial governments amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The celebration, is usually preceded by street parades featuring colourful effigies known as Ogoh-Ogoh which are later burned, representing renewal and purification. The parades are drastically scaled back since last year over fears of spreading the deadly virus. Social distancing measures were in place for some traditional ceremonies that went ahead – with mixed results – and many gave offerings in hopes of warding off the virus.
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