Getting to know Nyepi Day in Indonesia

Nyepi Day is a Hindu New Year in Bali which is celebrated on the first new moon in March. It is usually celebrated on the same day as the Indian festival, Ugadi.

Nyepi Day Traditions
A few days before Nyepi, a Balinese Hindu purification ceremony and ritual called Melasti takes place. During Melasti, parades of villagers carry all the sacred objects from their temples to the sea or the shore of a nearby lake. There sacred objects are cleaned and purified with the holy water of the sea or lake.

Nyepi celebrations are centered in Bali and take two forms.
According to custom, the arrival of Spring is the time of year when the God of Hell sends all the demons to Bali, which must then be cleaned to purify the island before the new year begins. People then ran through the streets of villages and towns, with their faces painted, making as much noise as possible.

The evil spirits are driven out by the locals who make massive statues of the evil spirits called ‘Ogoh Ogoh’. The Ogoh Ogoh are then paraded through towns and villages while people with their faces painted make as much noise as possible to scare off the monsters. In the evening, the statues are ceremonially burned, followed by dancing, binge drinking, and generally shameless feasting.

Day of Silence
This noisy and brash festival is then followed by Nyepi, Bali’s “Day of Silence” also known as the Day of Exile. Nyepi, marks the start of the Balinese Hindu Saka New Year and the arrival of spring. Starting at 6am and lasting until 6am the next day, Nyepi is a day meant for self-reflection and anything distracting is not allowed. This means no cooking or fire, no entertainment, no travel and no work of any kind allowed.

On Nyepi, Bali’s that normally busy streets are quiet and although Nyepi is a Hindu festival. While the non-Hindu residents of Bali will also celebrate a day of silence out of respect for their fellow citizens. Tourists are free to do what they want inside their hotel but no one is allowed to the beach or sightseeing. Airports in Bali will also closed for Nyepi and telecommunication companies will even shut down internet services for 24 hours.

The day after Nyepi, known as Ngembak Geni, and daily routines return to normal, it is a day to perform religious rituals and ask forgiveness for past deeds to start the new year clean.
Nyepi Day has been a national holiday in Indonesia since 1983.

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