Nyepi Day in Bali
Ever been wished a Happy New Year in March? Well if you are coming to Bali, expect it! It is a special month for the 4 million hindus living in Bali. Nyepi day marks the first day of the Balinese Saka year, same as the Gregorian calendar- 1st January. The Saka calendar is one of two calendars the Balinese use and it's based off the phases of the moon.
What's speical about Nyepi day? Big ceremonies are held 3-4 days leading up to Nyepi, the biggest being the day before. Youth groups all around Bali create massive Ogah Ogah's to scare away any evil spirits or demons. They are as big as 5 meters tall and are scary, evil mythical creatures made from paper mache and painted mystically.
They are paraded through the streets by strong young men and held on a bamboo platform alongside loud music from a local orchestra called Gamelan with instruments like drums, gongs, xylophone and bamboo flutes. There will be people banging pots and pans, yelling loudly and most likely drinking a local alcohol called arak, made from fermented coconuts.
The parades usually ends at the beach where the Ogah Ogah is burnt to ashes as a purification ritual. Families and friends return to their villages to fiest and drink.
The following morning, the day of Nyepi everyone awakes and traditionally, has to stay inside their home, keep the lights off, no music, no talking, no eating, no activities and are to meditate all day. A day of silence. The evil demons circle Bali for 24 hours and when they can't hear or see anyone they retreat at dawn until the following year. The only people aloud on the streets are local security men called Pecalang, if you are caught outside your hotel or home you will either be fined or sent to clean a temple. This is so strict all shops, restaurants and even the airport will be closed for 24 hours, sunrise to sunrise.
The day after Nyepi, Denpasar holds a kissing festival called Omed- Omedan where the young or unmarried kiss in front of hundreds of people as watchers throw buckets of water on them to chase away bad luck. What a tradition!
5 tips to survive Nyepi
1. Find a resort that has a nice pool and offers Nyepi day specials like all inclusive food & drink
2. Try and get invited to a Balinese household and experience the local traditions first hand
3. Buy a bottle of arak and lock yourself in your room with someone you like
4. Escape Bali and head to Lombok or the Gili's to relax, swim and party with no restrictions
5. Come join us at Pesona Beach Resort & Spa on Gili Trawangan, get pamperd in Azure Spa, eat delish Indian food, smoke sheesha, dive in turquoise water with Dive Central Gili and soak up the sun on the white sandy beaches