Things You Need to Know about Nyepi Day
In this edition, we would like to share with you the story of Nyepi Day, one of the most important cultural celebrations in Bali. This annual event, which falls on March 22nd this year, is a unique experience that is deeply rooted in Balinese culture and traditions and is celebrated with great reverence by the local community.
Nyepi Day, also known as the Day of Silence, is observed on the first day of the Balinese Saka calendar. It is a day of silence, of fasting, and for self-reflection. The name Nyepi comes from the Balinese word sepi which means quiet. On this day, the Balinese people refrain from any form of physical activity. All activities on Bali come to a halt, including transportation, electricity, and even the internet. The streets are empty with all businesses closed and the entire island comes to a standstill.
The purpose of Nyepi Day is to create a space for self-reflection, introspection, and spiritual cleansing. It is believed that on this day, the spirits of evil and chaos roam the earth and the only way to keep them away is to make the island appear deserted. This is why the Balinese people stay indoors, keep their lights low or off, and avoid making any noise.
The preparation for Nyepi Day begins weeks before the actual event with local communities building Ogoh-Ogoh, which are large and colorful papier-mâché statues that represent evil and malevolent spirits. These statues are paraded through the streets on Pengerupukan Day, the eve of Nyepi Day, accompanied by loud music and chanting to scare away any evil spirits lurking in the neighbourhood. Once the Ogoh-Ogoh have been paraded throughout the community, the Ngrupuk ritual is performed, during which the Ogoh-Ogoh are burned.
The whole island of Bali shuts down on Nyepi Day and the Hindu Balinese stay at home in quiet reflection. They do not speak to each other or answer their telephones, and as they are fasting, they do not eat for 24hours. The lanes, the roads, the beaches, will all be empty, even the airport is closed for the day. Only public services such as hospitals and transportation for the sick are allowed to run.
If you happen to be in Bali during Nyepi, it is important to be mindful and respectful of the customs and traditions of the Balinese people. Make sure you understand the expectations and rules for guests at your chosen accommodation for Nyepi Day. Take the opportunity, all too rare in our busy modern lives, to join in and have your own day of solitude and contemplation. Be respectful and enjoy this unique day.
If you are staying in a hotel in Bali on Nyepi Day, here is what you can do.
Stay in your room: Follow the Balinese tradition and spend the day in your hotel room in contemplation or enjoying quiet activities such as reading, practicing yoga, meditation and stargazing at night.
Enjoy the hotel amenities: As a hotel guest, you can still walk around the hotel grounds and take advantage of the hotel facilities during Nyepi. The hotel will still provide some necessary lights and there may also be a wi-fi signal for guests too, and there will be staff (who are not Hindu Balinese) to take care of you.
Participate in hotel activities: Some hotels will offer activities during Nyepi that are in line with the customs and traditions of the Balinese people. You can participate in these activities to learn more about the local culture.
Respect the customs: Once again, it is important to respect the customs and traditions of the Balinese people during Nyepi. This means refraining from any loud activities, including using electronic devices that can be seen from the outside or making noise.
Nyepi is a time when the Balinese people reflect on the past year, meditate, and rejuvenate themselves for the year ahead. It is a time for introspection and self-reflection, a unique opportunity to disconnect from the world and focus on your inner-self. We encourage you to experience the magic of Nyepi in the traditional way at least once. We hope that you have enjoyed learning about Nyepi Day and that it has inspired you to explore the rich cultural traditions of Bali and other equally fascinating regions of Asia where the Secret Retreats community call home.
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