Heard about Nyepi Day, but still not sure exactly what it is and how you can immerse yourself in the experience with the beautiful Balinese culture. After reading below it won’t be long until you plan to pack your bags and be on your next holiday in Bali! If you have already booked, or are thinking about travelling to Bali and have heard about a Hindu celebration called Nyepi Day, don’t be discouraged. We have broken down what Nyepi Day is celebrating, how you can get the most out of your time in Bali, and our tips to make it a memorable experience.
When is Nyepi Day 2020?
Nyepi Day falls every year on the Hindu Lunar New Year. For 2020 it will start from 6am on Wednesday 25th March and finish at 6am on Thursday 26th March. For tourists, it’s a great experience to immerse yourself in Balinese culture by watching the pre-Nyepi Day celebrations.
Pre-Nyepi Day Ogoh-Ogoh Parade
In the months leading up to Nyepi Day children and men of all ages will be building ogoh-ogoh statues of various sizes, sometimes up to 25-feet tall. The cost to make one statue can range from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of rupiah ($10 – $1000 USD). They are symbols of mythological beings or demons, a spirit in which negative energy can be emitted into.
Once made, on the day before Nyepi (Tuesday 24th March, 2020) a procession through the village will take place where music will be played, and men will carry the ogoh-ogoh on their shoulders. It is believed that through this process evil spirits will be disoriented and thus leave the village and cease to harm human beings. Once the procession has taken place, the ogoh-ogoh will be taken to the cemetery or beach where it is finally burnt to ashes as a symbol of purification.
Tips for best viewing of Pre-Nyepi Day Ogoh-Ogoh Parade
- They usually start around 6pm on most main roads.
- Jalan Legian is the place to go to if you are staying in the Legian, Seminyak, Canggu areas.
- Jalan Monkey Forest road is also popular if you are staying in the Ubud area.
- Remember that road blocks will be in place from midday (12pm) and thus traffic will be dense, plan ahead if you are wanting to travel to view a particular parade.
- Be mindful when with young children that there will be loud music, crowds and large scary looking statues. We find choosing to view a parade not far from where you are staying, makes for an easy return to your villa if you need to do so.
Image Credit: Baptiste Mallet
Things to be mindful of to make the most out of your Nyepi Day..
- Stay inside your villa for 24hours – (All people in Bali stay inside and all shops are closed. Emergency services are actively working; however, all movement is kept to a minimum). Local police will be patrolling the streets to ensure this is adhered to.
- Visit your local ATM or money exchange if you are in need of cash, as these will shut down from about 12pm the day before Nyepi and in some cases, with Bali time, not re-open until late in the day late post Nyepi.
- Talk to our concierge team or your villa manager to arrange your meals in advance. You may find that your villa staff will stay onsite for the night to service you or they will prepare food in advance for you. [Remember it’s only 24hours so it won’t be too much of a disruption]
- If you don’t have an arrangement for your villa staff to do your groceries for you, we would suggest visiting your local supermarket (Bintang Supermarket in Seminyak is great for all familiar foods).
- They sell delicious cheeses, snacks, fresh fruit, and drinks as per your preference.
- Stock up in case you feel like a bite to eat or something to drink early, as shops can get busy.
Jalan Raya Seminyak, No.17, Seminyak, Bali
How to keep occupied
From personal experience, Nyepi has been a day where you wake up in the morning to silence. It makes the hairs on your arms raise up and you feel a sense of calm. You won’t hear the rumbling of a motorbike, or tooting of a car horn. It’s a day where the island paradise of Bali stops as one and observes this sacred ritual of stillness. There are four main rules to be mindful of out of respect when it comes to Nyepi Day:
Similar to a public holiday in most countries, all shops and businesses are required to close for 24hours. Unlike other countries, for this day all businesses means all businesses. With an exception for local police and emergency personal, everyone is required to stay home or in their accommodation. Not to worry, this is a great time to chill out by your pool and relax without the temptation of leaving your villa.
No lighting fires (or lights of any kind)
For a local this would mean, no electricity or lighting of fires. As a tourist, it is also expected out of respect that light is kept to a minimum after dusk, we suggest keeping your curtains drawn and only use light when necessary. Don’t worry, your villa will have electricity for you to charge your devices and keep cool in the air-conditioning.
No entertainment or pleasure
You will find that local TV stations will be switched off and mobile data services may be slow or limited. This however won’t effect the wifi in your villa and thus besides enjoying all the activities inside you villa offline (reading a good book, floating in your pool, playing board games), you will still be able to surf the web as much as your heart desires.
You will find that no planes will arrive or depart for 24hours and thus trickles down to no movement of cars, motorbikes as well as people on foot. You are required to stay inside you villa.