Today was a special day in Bali – Nyepi day, or Silence day. It’s called the Silence day because everyone in Bali, including tourists, are supposed to stay inside, in darkness, and make no noise.
Nyepi is a part of Balinese New Year celebration (based on Bali old calendar ‘Caka’) and a big day in the Hindu religion. There are several rituals and traditions about Nyepi.
For 24 hours starting from 6am until 6am the following day. All streets in Bali will be empty looking like it is uninhabited. No cars and and people as everyone in the entire island is to stay indoor. When darkness falls, no lights can be used so the entire island will be in total darkness. All public transportation including the airport will be closed.
For Hindu Balinese people, this day is reserved for meditation, and look back on the year to get ready for the new one. Any type of work is not allowed including cooking, so that all meals for the celebration will be prepared the day before. If you are not Hindu speaking is permitted and can go about doing your usual business, but only within your house. Foreigners must respect this local tradition by staying quiet and not turn any lights on during this time.
Surfers not allowed to surf on this day, which is the only time lineups with perfect waves will be completely empty for the day. Do not attempt to sneak out. There are special village security called “pecalang” watching the streets to make sure people respect this day.
Nyepi day and the day after will be a public holiday. Everything will be closed which some offices cut their work day shorter the day before Nyepi.
This is my 4th Nyepi in Bali and every year I celebrate makes me love it more. It’s really cool to spend one day in the year to slow down, break your routine, and spend the entire day not leaving the house. I will one day try to truly celebrate the day and follow all the rules. One other thing I love about Nyepi is the complete darkness. No one in the entire island is allowed to use lights, so the night sky is lit up only by the stars above. You can see billions of stars in the sky which no words can describe the vastness of the universe.
So if you are stuck in Bali for Nyepi day get ready for that!
- If you stay in a private house, stack your fridge with food. You won’t be able to go out to eat, or order food for delivery.
- If you are staying in a hotel, that means you have less worries about starving. Hotels usually provide guests with food and drinks.
- Don’t forget to buy candles, or make sure you have thick curtains. So if you turn on the lights it wont be visible from the street.
- Don’t go outside the gate of your house / villa / hotel etc.
- Don’t talk too loud, play loud music, or make any other noise
- Leave Bali the day before Nyepi if you don’t want to participate. Go to other islands like Gili, or fly to Yogyakarta.
Watch these videos to know more about Nyepi in Bali
Read about other important religious celebrations in Bali: