Nyepi is Bali’s “Day of Silence” and this year is Sunday March 14th 2021. It is a Hindu celebration mainly in Bali. Nyepi Day is a day of silence, fasting and meditation for the Balinese. The evening prior usually there is a parade of Ogoh Ogoh (paper mache monsters) in every village to scare aware the evil spirits. The monsters represent all objects, people or anything that can disrupt human life. The tradition has for the second year been significantly restricted due to COVID19. Other ceremonies including Melasti which usually is a spectacular procession of Balinese walking to the beach or rivers for purification have been limited to capacity of 50 persons.
This Nyepi also marks a year since Bali was effected by COVID19. The economic effects have been severe. Businesses closing, either temporarily or permanently has lead to 2 million people being unemployed. With minimal government assistance they are now struggling. So this Nyep will certainly be a time of deep refection.
Observed from 6.a.m 14th March until 6.a.m 15th March, Nyepi is silent so the bad spirits scared aware the night before do not return. It is also a day reserved for self reflection. The main restrictions are no lightning fire (and light must be keep low), no working, no entertainment or pleasure no traveling and for some no talking or eating at all.
The effect of these restrictions is that Bali and its usual bustling streets are empty. There is little or no noise from TV or Radios and few sign of activity are seen even inside homes. The only people to be seen outdoors are the pecalang, traditional security who patrol the street to ensure the prohibitions are being followed. Although Nyepi is primarily a Hindu Holiday, non Hindu residents and tourists are not exempt from restrictions. Although they are free to do as they wish inside their hotel, no one is allowed on to the beaches or streets and the airport in Bali remains closed for the entire day. The exception granted are for emergency vehicles responding to life threatening conditions and women about give to birth.
On day after Nyepi, known as Ngembak Geni (Relighting the fire), Social activity picks up again quickly, as families and friends gather to ask forgiveness from one another, and to perform certain religious ritual together. Fires and electricity are allowed again, and cooking of food resumes.
If you are lucky enough to be staying in Bali on the Day of Silence, enjoy this special time. Nyepi is definitely something different and original that you cannot experience anywhere else in the world!