Nyepi - What You Need To Know About The Silent Day of Bali

What You Need To Know About Nyepi- The Silent Day of Bali

By |2018-09-02T11:08:07+00:00March 17th, 2018|Asia, Indonesia|0 Comments

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Bali is an Indonesian Island that is often times spoken about it’s beautiful beaches, delicious food and beautiful sites.

This island is rich in spirit and in culture, but most do not know about the incredible New Year’s celebrations that happen here.

bali festivals and ceremonies

It is a top ten bucket list experience that spans multiple days, traditions and experiences all over the island of Bali. Like other New Year’s celebrations, Bali does not disappoint in tradition or meaning.

The Balinese New Year is a six-day celebration in March, with Nyepi- the silent day being the third and most notable day.

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This holiday falls on a different day each year and is calculated by the Balinese calendar.

On the Balinese calendar, one full year contains 12 sasih, or Balinese months. Each month contains 35 days to match one complete cycle of the moon.

The holiday happens at different times during March depending on the year. It is decided by the Balinese calendar and is marked by the first day of the spring Equinox.

In short, it is a six day Hindu celebration that focuses on rest, relaxation and the cleansing of the spirit.


nyepi in bali day

The Celebration

Day One: Melasti Ritual

On the first day a purification ceronomy called "Melasti" is held where sacred water from the ocean is attained. The ceremonious blessing is performed in a Balinese temple near the ocean. The water is meant to cleanse sacred objects in several different temples.

when is hindu new year

Day Two: Bhuta Yajna Ritual

Nyepi Eve is the second day of Nyepi and is traditionally called the Bhuta Yajna Ritual.

This is when the Ogoh Ogoh Parade takes place- variations of the event happen all over the island but the best demonstrations are often in villages by the most popular beaches.

vidio ogo ogo

The parade’s purpose is meant to vanquish the negative elements and to create a balance with man, God and nature. Oftentimes on this day, sacrifices are made.

The sacrifices depend on the village. Some sacrifices include ducks, pigs, chickens and even cows as well as some plants.

In the evening, around 5-6 pm, the ceremonial event of Pengrupukan (ogoh ogoh parade) begins.

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This parade takes a lot of time and preparation by the community.

About two months before Nyepi Eve, giant Balinese mythological demonic statues start being constructed. They have scary faces, extra arms and legs and are usually created out of paper.

Next, they are attached to a bamboo platform that is carried throughout town toward the beach by hand.

what is nyepi day in bali

Statues are about 25 feet tall and can be extremely heavy. Sometimes the bamboo sticks are raised up and down to give the illusion that the demons are running or moving.

Statues are colorful and detail oriented, some looking like typical demons and others looking like crazed wild animals. These figures are meant to symbolize negative and harmful spirits.

Groups of men carrying the statues are joined by children following alongside as well as crowds of people marching and playing music, called Balinese gamelan musicians.

Sounds of honking horns, cheering and other noises can be heard.

happy silent day

This commotion is to scare away evil spirits as the people continue their journey towards the ocean.

During this time, streets are lined with hundreds of people who are there to witness the spectacle. Tourists and locals alike gather to partake in photos, dancing, eating and to help ward off the negative spirits from the island.

nyepi in bali

Once darkness falls and the statues arrive at the beach, the massive figures are set ablaze and burned in a ceremony called Ngrupuk.

This ceremony symbolizes dismissal of any evil influences in life. Some are set completely ablaze while others are kept too show off in areas of the town.

After the statues are burned, the festival continues into the night with lots of eating, drinking and dancing to help keep the negative spirits at bay.

nyepi day of silence

Day Three: Nyepi or The Day of Silence

After an evening filled of song, dance and celebration Nyepi takes place.

The Balinese "Day of Silence" is celebrated every Isakawarsa (Saka New Year) according to the Balinese calendar.

This goes along with a myth that after the celebration of the first and second day, the island goes completely dark and quiet to hide from evil spirits.

bali new year 2018

Nyepi is the most celebrated holiday of the year that is completely dedicated to reconnecting more deeply with God.

People use this day to fast, pray and meditate while focusing on areas of their life such as personal values, love, kindness and patience.

There are no cars on the road, stores and shops are closed and there is no loud noise allowed. Windows are covered with newspaper and drawn shut to hide out the sun.

People are meant to reflect and meditate during this time.

silent day bali

Nyepi is a 24 hours ritual whereby the following beliefs will be upheld:

Amati Geni: No fire or light, including no electricity

Amati Karya: To refrain from any activity

Amati Lelungan: To refrain from travels

Amati Lelanguan: To control oneself/ self-entertainment

all is quiet on new year's day

Some believe that It is thought that this is the day to let Mother Nature recover from 364 days of human pollution.

It is said that the day of silence can be one of the most unique days in Bali that one could ever experience.

Everyone in Bali, whether Hindu or not participate. People who are not Hindu observe this holiday out of respect for their neighbours.

day of silence history

Day Four: Yoga/ Brata

After The Day of Silence, the Yoga/Brata Ritual begins.

This day begins on the day of silence and goes into the next day where the faithful spend this day in more meditation.

ogoh ogoh 2018

Day Five: Ngembak Agni/ Labuh Brata Ritual

The fifth day is the Ngembak Agni/ Labuh Brata Ritual.

This is the official New Year’s day where the Balinese Hindus take this day to visit with friends, family and neighbors to exchange forgiveness of one another.

On this day, young people also practice Omed-omedan; or the Kissing Ritual to welcome in the New Year.

hindu new year traditions

Day Six: Dharma Shanti Ritual

Finally, on the sixth day is the Dharma Shanti Rituals.

On this day, Balinese Hindus recite ancient scriptures and this marks the closing of the sacred days in the Balinese calendar.

hindu new year starting date

So what can you expect if you are in Bali during The Day of Silence?

So if you are not familiar with the traditions, The Day of Silence can be filled with a lot of questions as to what to do and what is expected.

What is the purpose of Nyepi?

Nyepi is a day of self-cleansing and reflection.

Everything is closed and all people are meant to be inside. There are no cars on the road or anyone walking around.

The airport is shut down with no flights coming in or going out for this day.

(Fun fact: This is the only airport in the world that closes for one day a year.)

hari raya nyepi

There is not any light allowed to shine through windows.

It is said that if an airplane were to fly over Bali on this evening, there would not be any light shining from the island.

To ensure that all Nyepi traditions are being practiced, Pecalang (Nyepi police) patrol the island.

It is advised to visitors to have all of their arrangements settled before this day.

day of silence rules

What Are You Not Allowed To Do?

On this day, people are not allowed to do anything outdoors or that makes noise.

They are not allowed to drive cars, walk the streets or do any manual work.

Walking outside is considered as a criminal act!

There is no shopping as all shops are closed.

balinese symbols and meanings

The day is meant specifically to stay home and meditate in the peacefulness of your home and reconnect with God.

People are not allowed to use electricity or at the very least, only use small amounts with their windows covered so that light cannot get out.

If you are a tourist, hotels often have activities planned at the establishment to help fill your day as even guests are expected to semi adhere to the Nyepi traditions.

day of silence bali

How Do I Prepare for Nyepi?

To prepare for this occasion, you must start head of time.

Families will need to have all food, water and medication at their home.

If you are ill-prepared, then that day you will have to go without because all store fronts will be closed and nothing will be available.

day of silence indonesia

So make sure that you have enough food and drinks to last at least one day.

If you do run low on supplies, the day of silence is only one-day long so you can restock the following day.

Tips If You Are In Bali For Nyepi

Obviously if you arrive expecting Nyepi, that is best, but if you arrive and it is a complete surprise, that’s okay too.

There are some things you can do.

Most hotels in the area expect for their guests to not be sure what to think.

day of silence meaning

Many hotels on the island are prepared with food for guests. It is usually asked to be ordered ahead of time so there is time to prepare.

This day is a perfect time to unwind in your hotel room. You can nap, read or meditate.

Movement around the interior of hotels is usually permitted but asked to be kept at minimum. If staying at a spa, it is the perfect excuse to have a full day spa treatment to help relax and unwind.

balinese new year

At night, with the whole island being shut off and the lack of any light pollution, you are in for the best night time sky view.

This is when the stars are able to shine their brightest and you are able to clearly see the Milky Way. For most of us, this is a very rare and special occasion.

what is the day of silence

If you are not interested in experiencing Nyepi at all, then it is recommended that you make arrangements to head to an island that does not observe the holiday.

The most well-known local island that you could escape to is the Gili Islands that you can take a boat ride to.

When is Nyepi in Bali?

YearDateCaka Year
2018Saturday, 17th March1940
2019Wednesday, 6th March1941
2020Wednesday, 23rd March1942
2021Sunday, 14th March1943
2022Saturday, 3rd March1944
2023Wednesday, 22 March1945
2024Monday, 11th March1946
2025Saturday, 29th March1947
2026Thursday, 19th March1948
2027Monday, 08th March1949
2028Sunday, 26th March1950
2029Thursday, 15th March1951
2030Tuesday, 5th March1952

national day of silence 2018

This is a special time of the year for all people who live in this area of the world.

It is truly an eye opening experience and something that all should experience at least once in their life.

Have you been fortunate enough to partake in the Balinese New Year celebration?

I encourage you to leave a comment below to share your experience!

More Photos of the Ogoh Ogoh Parade

bali ceremony

what is the day of silence for

new year's day observed meaning

lights quiet silence day

balinese festivals and ceremonies

new years eve party bali

melasti street bali

visiting bali in march

the quiet celebrations

indonesian celebrations and holidays

what day is the day of silence

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Nyepi - Silent Day of Bali
day of silence bali

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