Nyepi Day in Bali

2:46 PM

Today, the island of Bali in Indonesia celebrates Nyepi - the traditional new year in the Saka Hindu calendar. It is the day following the dark moon of the spring equinox. In contrast to how animated we welcome the new year, the entire island instead shuts down. The Balinese believe that on this day,  everything - the world, is clean and starts anew. Man exhibit self-control and control over the forces of the world. Thus Nyepi is considered to be a day of silence so no one can go out to the streets. No one can make any noise. No one can use a fire.

When we visited Bali several years ago, we had the most fortunate luck to be there during Nyepi. We were completely ignorant of the festival when we booked our tickets and so consequently lost an entire day during our stay. So the day before Nyepi, Tawur Kesanga, we started in the wee hours of the morning to catch the sunrise on top of Mt. Batur. After lunch, we hightailed to Mt. Bratan and got to see the lake that is now the image of Balu. Along the way, we saw what we dubbed as Bozanian Beast Fighters since it reminded us of the creatures on anime Voltez V.

The site www.indo.com explains the presence of these creatures more adequately.
"Exactly one day before Nyepi, all villages in Bali hold a large exorcism ceremony at the main village cross road, the meeting place of demons. They usually make Ogoh-ogoh (the fantastic monsters or evil spirits or the Butha Kala made of bamboo) for carnival purposes...." 

On Nyepi day, we were forced to stay in our hotel and swim in the pool instead of the beach. We were fed sandwiches the entire day since they can't turn on the stove and prepare us a proper meal.  That night, we had to get to our rooms and turn off the lights as early as possible. Watching television was frowned upon and when they caught us doing such a thing,  they directed their flashlights at our windows and shouted at us in Balinese. We had no choice but to turn off the telly.

I am still on the fence if one should experience Nyepi. If perhaps you are on holiday for more than a few days, then perhaps you should. But if you can't afford to stay long, then I'd advice you to skip it.

Sunrise from the top of Mt. Batur
Rice fields are everywhere in Bali.
Here's a traditional Balinese compound seen from the road. 
Mt. Bratan is the picture perfect Balinese postcard. 

Kids carry these ogoh-ogoh around main roads. 

They look like creatures from a different realm. 

One of the pools of Masa Inn where most of the guests spent Nyepi day. 

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