Nyepi, On the Sky

Indonesia Culture, Tips for Guests, Tourism

Nyepi Day: What to do in Bali

26 Feb , 2016  

Nyepi is the most sacred day of the year for Bali-Hindunese. It marks the Balinese New Year. Roll the old and rock the new…Nyepi 2016 falls on Wednesday, March 9.

Unlike other cultures where New Year is often marked with festivities, Nyepi is celebrated in utter silence and darkness.

But yes…not before a helluva organized disorder known as Pengrupukan. On Pengrupukan day, on the eve of Nyepi, people flock the streets to see the ogoh-ogoh parade.

Ogoh-ogoh refers to grotesque papermache statues that symbolize everything bad in the last year in the hope for a better year ahead. Every banjar (traditional neighborhood association) makes its own ogoh-ogoh based on the creativity of the local youths. Using styrofoam, bamboo, fabrics etc they create scary and sometimes funny-looking creatures. The youths then carry it on the street, completed with torches, gamelan and whatnot, making the parade as noisy as possible to scare the demons away and hold bad luck at bay.

Nyepi in Bali, Ogoh-ogoh

Ogoh-ogoh in the Parade

The festivities of the Pengerupukan makes no. 1 in our to do list

1. See the Ogoh-ogoh Parade (Pengerupukan)

Where? Munggu crossroad in Canggu/Pererenan area and Kerobokan junction are famous spots to enjoy the parade.

2. Stargazing

No lights allowed once Nyepi starts. With no lights that can blur the stars above, and the fact that it always takes place on the new moon, the night of Nyepi is perfect for stargazing. Go ahead…make yourself comfortable on your hammock or bean bag in the yard… look up to the sky and see the Milky Way spins before your eyes. It’s wonderful. Play with your beloved ones. Test your knowledge. The one who can name the right constellations the most, win.

3. Solar Eclipse

It happens that Nyepi 2016 coincides with a solar eclipse that can be seen from all over Indonesia. Although not every region will experience total solar eclipse, it will be a really cool thing to see nonetheless. More info about solar eclipse here.

Don’ts During Nyepi

– Don’t go out of your house/villa/hotel during Nyepi day (6 am to 6 am, March 9-March 10). By go out I mean to the street. It’s tolerable to walk around your OWN garden (not your neighbour’s)

– Don’t make any noise or deliberate disturbance that might disturb your neighbors.

– Don’t switch your light on during the night. It’s ok to use flash light once in a while if you need to find something. The only exception to this probably is if you have babies and need to tend to him/her during the night. (Same thing goes for elderly and person with disability). But even so, keep the light at minimum.

– If you must, do your movie marathon during the day (and keep the sound minimum). Meanwhile, all TV channels (even cables) are blocked.

– If possible, don’t cook. At least excessively. Stock enough food supply.

4. Be a Doomsday Prepper…for a day

Days counting to Nyepi will alter almost all dept. stores and supermarket in Bali as a pre-doomsday event. Hundreds if not thousands of people buy food supply and groceries at the same time. The fact that Nyepi lasts only 24 hours doesn’t deter the shoppers from buying a month’s worth of supplies. If you want to experience what is it like to be in the Walking Dead episode (pre-zombie outbreaks), shop your supplies in Nyepi D-2 till D-1.

5. Do a Nyepi run…in the Gilis

This thing had been popular before hotels and villas in Bali got creative by offering Nyepi holiday packages. However, since the PHDI (Indonesia Hinduism Society) ban such package beginning this year, go out of the island is going to be popular again. For many, the best way to enjoy Nyepi is to go to the Gilis and party like there’s no tomorrow there.

Check our Gili neighbourhood for the latest offers.

6. Do it like the Balinese.

Nyepi, or Day of Silence is the day of self-reflection, through silence, fasting and meditation. When it’s done right, it’s quite an experience. For yoga practitioners out there, it’s a good day to practice your Asana too. With the silence, the new moon (and the solar eclipse this year), breathing the freshest air as the direct result of Nyepi day while striking your Asana can bring you balance like no other. For non-yogist, do not worry, far from boring, limiting ourselves from the otherwise mundane things we do/have everyday (watching TV, lights, over-eating, speaking loudly) is liberating.

Considering that it only comes once a year, I don’t see why we can’t just enjoy the deafening silence of Nyepi…

Selamat Hari Raya Nyepi | Tahun Baru Caka 1938

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1 Response

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