Nyepi Day, the Day of Silence

Thursday, February 20, 2020
By PR Corp Kayumanis

All activity on the island of Bali will come to a standstill on 25th March 2020, which is Nyepi or Balinese New Year in accordance to the Saka calendar system.

Nyepi is an important event for followers of the local Hindu faith. The significance of this cultural occasion is to ensure that the island is shrouded in silence for 24 hours. Whilst Bali appears to be abandoned, all evil spirits from the underworld will pass by and wreak havoc elsewhere. Everyone on must refrain from going out, lighting fires and turning on lights during Nyepi. It is essentially a time to contemplate the depth of one’s own spirituality. 

Just a few days before Nyepi, the Balinese carry out a ritual known as Melasti that involves entire communities walking in long processions to the beach to purify their sacred temple objects. All participants dress in white for the occasion and a small ceremony takes place at the water’s edge. It is also an opportunity for followers of the Hindu faith to cleanse themselves with the symbolic release of all negativity into the ocean. Melasti can be observed on 22nd March 2020 at beaches all around Bali.

Nyepi is also referred to as the Day of Silence and the highlight of this auspicious holiday is the ogoh-ogoh parade. Giant monster effigies are paraded by Bali’s youngsters around the streets on the eve of Nyepi to symbolise the negative elements of the underworld. Local communities spent weeks preparing for this event and they express their creativity by making ogoh-ogoh using traditional papier-mâché techniques.

The objective of the parade is to make as much noise as possible and scare away any evil forces that may try to disturb peace on Bali. Nowadays classic monsters and icons of Hindu mythology are shown alongside contemporary ogoh-ogoh designs that make social statements about the island’s rapid modernisation.

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