Nyepi-Day of Silence and Ogo Ogo festival
7 March 2019
Bali in Indonesia is a beautiful tourist destination, and millions of tourists visit this paradise every year. This necessary tourism migration has severe consequences in terms of infrastructure, ecology, waste management, and water supply, etc. It's starting to become a real problem: how to manage the growing needs of this visitor invasion? But, one day a year, Bali will be the most peaceful and serene place on the planet: Nyepi Day! Literally, "Day of Silence" Nyepi is the New Year celebration for Balinese Hindus. This day of silence is celebrated in Bali and nowhere else. It will be the quietest day of the year, around the Earth, it's sure! The Balinese stop all their activities during this day. Everywhere in Bali, roads, towns, or villages are empty, and no one can leave their home for 24 full hours.
Of course, many expatriates prefer to leave Bali not to "suffer" a day of total silence and especially not to feel "prisoner" at home. Nyepi can consider as an incredible and unique experience that must be experienced at least once in a lifetime. This Hindu celebration allows you to meditate and fast for a whole day. For 24 hours, it is a day of rest and reflection, inciting introspection, and personal research of one's existence. All that will disturb this spiritual search is proscribed.
The most important restrictions are (for 24 hours):
- No light outside (inside your house, it's possible to have view only on the condition that you caulk your windows with curtains).
- No work.
- No entertainment, games, or pleasure other than intellectual (no sex).
- No trips outside the house or your hotel or residence.
The effect of these restrictions is that the streets, roads, and beaches of Bali are empty and silent. No pollution for 24 hours! (Nature says "thank you!")
Only Pecalang, traditional religious security men, are responsible for patrolling the streets and beaches to ensure that Nyepi's rules are respected.
These restrictions concern Balinese as well as tourists or expatriates.
- All shopping centers, shops, restaurants, gas stations, businesses are closed.
- Everyone must stay at home, in hotels or resorts.
- The sound level of your music or television should be at a minimum.
- The airport, the ports, will be closed entirely on Nyepi Day.
- In hospitals, only emergency and maternity wards will be open.
A day before Nyepi, at the end of the afternoon, there is a parade of "Ogo Ogo" (monsters!) on the streets. Created mainly by children, symbolisms of monsters, "Ogo Ogo" represent all objects, people, or anything that can disrupt human lives. These "Ogos Ogos" are like a parade of exorcism to hope for a prosperous future before the procession, the whole family gathered at home, blessing the family temple. Around 7 pm, each member of the family will commit to making as much noise as possible to remove the negative forces: hitting pots, banging on noisy objects, using bamboo cannons and firecrackers, etc. Everything will be useful to make the noise.
The day after Nyepi, on the sixth day of the New Year celebration, social activity slowly resumes: families and friends meet to apologize for each other and perform specific and religious rituals.
If you are in Bali, for Nyepi, experience at least once and respect this day so important for the Balinese. Enjoy your day as a gift: Some "dreamers" even hope that it would be a good idea to create a World Day of Silence! Nyepi 2019. Start at 6.00 am on 7th March (Thursday) Until 6.00 am on 8th March (Friday)
Photo by Alexander Postovar