Nyepi: Day of Silence in Bali

Discover the magic of Bali, where the island takes a break from the hustle and bustle to become the most peaceful and tranquil place on earth for an entire day.

In contrast to the boisterous festivities of other parts of the world, Bali celebrates the New Year with a unique and serene tradition. Known as Nyepi Day, the island falls silent as locals and visitors alike retreat into their homes and hotels, and the entire island shuts down for 24 hours.

Imagine a world without traffic, without noisy crowds, without lights or music - just the soothing sounds of nature and the gentle glow of the stars above. It's a rare and beautiful experience that will leave you feeling rested, refreshed and rejuvenated.

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nyepi day bali
Nyepi: A Day of Silence in Bali

Nyepi: Day of Silence in Bali

History of Nyepi Day

Nyepi is the national day of silence in Bali. It is a day for devotees to honour the Hindu New Year through self-reflection, meditation and fasting. There are four elements to the Nyepi ritual, including Amati Geni (to not light up fire/switch on lights), Amati Karya (to not work), Amati Lelunganan (to not travel), and Amati Lelanguan (to fast & abstain).

The religious festival is observed from 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. of the following day. Ngembak Geni is celebrated on the day after Nyepi, where social activities resume almost immediately and dear ones come together to perform religious rituals and seek forgiveness from one another.

balinese new year
On Nyepi Day, devotees honour the Hindu New Year through self-reflection, meditation and fasting

Balinese New Year

Over 90% of the Balinese population practices Hinduism. On the day of Nyepi, vehicles are not allowed on the roads, and those found engaging in activities in public will risk being arrested. For tourists, fun is only limited to the domain of their resorts. They are not allowed to leave the properties and the airports on the island are duly closed.

Bali's New Year's Day
Over 90% of the Balinese population practices Hinduism

Ogoh-ogoh Giant Demonic Puppets

As I was traveling through Ubud, I was fortunate enough to witness the preparations that took place on the days leading up to the festival. Gigantic ogoh-ogoh were created out of papier-mâché, which were deliberately made to look grisly and grotesque as they represent demonic spirits. They would then be paraded on the streets before being ceremoniously burned to symbolise the riddance of evil for a better year ahead.

Ngrupuk parade bali
Ogoh-ogoh are large statues of demons built for the Ngrupuk parade, which happens on the eve of Nyepi day.

Travel Tips During Nyepi

Many tourists would rather avoid traveling to Bali during Nyepi as it defeats the purpose of being there in the first place (not getting to soak up the sun, drown in dirt cheap alcohol etc). However, it is a rare opportunity to be able to experience this festival, its every ritual and the time it provides for you to immerse in tranquil quietude to meditate, unwind and contemplate. To truly enjoy Nyepi, try any of the following:
  1. Bring a book
  2. Ensure that meals will be served at your accommodation
  3. Book your flight tickets to/from Bali before/after the day of Nyepi as airports will be closed
  4. Visit a neighbouring island if silence and inactivity is not for you
  5. Ready the camera and join in the celebrations for the golden opportunity to document them
  6. Respect others who are celebrating

Things to do during Nyepi
Nyepi: A Day of Silence in Bali

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  1. A very interesting and respectable ritual balinese practice. Indeed there is so much to learn about every religion and their different and unique practices.


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