Nyepi-Day of Silence and Ogo Ogo festival
Bali in Indonesia is a very attractive tourist destination and millions of tourists visit this paradise every year. This important tourism migration has serious 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 absolutely certain! 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. In my humble opinion, Nyepi can be considered as an incredible and unique experience that must be lived 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 own 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 light 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 outside 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 completely closed on March 17th.
- In hospitals, only emergency and maternity wards will be open.
The day before Nyepi at the end of the afternoon, there is a parade of "Ogo Ogo" (monsters!) in the streets. Created mainly by children, symbolisms of monsters, "Ogo Ogo" represent all objects, people or anything that can disrupt human lives. Mainly made by the children of each village, these "Ogos Ogos" are like a parade of exorcism to hope for a future prosperous year. Before the procession, the whole family gathered at home, bless the family temple.
Around 7 pm, each member 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 good 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 2018. Start at 6.00am on 17th March (Saturday) Until 6.00am on 18th March (Sunday)
Photo by Alexander Postovar