What to do on Nyepi Day in Bali

Stephanie Anais

What to do on Nyepi Day in Bali

Perhaps it’s better to ask; what not to do on Nyepi Day. This very special day, The Balinese New Year, a day-and-night of complete and utter silence, is unique in this world. What country shuts down entirely for 24 hours? Yep, it is true, the airport is closed, everything is closed and no one is allowed out on the streets, make loud noises or even turn on a light in the evening. Why? Nyepi day is originally a day of introspection, meditation, fasting, and purification. It’s also the day ‘the Gods’ fly over the island of Bali and because the island is completely silent and dark, they will fly passed without making trouble. This day of silence doesn’t start without making a hell of a lot of noise the night before with the frightening and exciting Ogoh Ogoh ‘monster parade’. Nyepi is an experience unlike any other and I’d reckon you’re lucky if you are here on the island to take part in it!

The Ogoh Ogoh parade

The day before Nyepi is the day of the Ogoh Ogoh parade. The Balinese people living in villages and towns all around the island start designing and building their Ogoh Ogoh monster puppet months before the day. Apart from the cultural and spiritual meaning, it’s also a contest between villages who made the best and scariest monster. The Ogoh Ogoh puppets are paraded through the streets after dark with traditional Gamelan music and fire torches. Every puppet gives a performance when it’s their turn. The strongest men in the village work together to lift the giant puppet up into the sky on a bamboo rack and as they’re moving it back and forth up in the air, it appears to come to life. Watching the Ogoh Ogoh parade is a unique experience, somewhat frighting but oh so exciting and very special. You can witness it all around the island, no matter where you are. The Ogoh Ogoh parade is meant to attract demons and evil spirits. They are believed to inhabit the puppets and traditionally the puppets were burned on the beach at the end of the evening before Nyepi Day begins.

Nyepi Day of Silence

After all the commotion, the loudness, and the fire, it is time to go home and lock yourself in for a total period of 24 hours. Nobody is allowed to make loud noises or even burn a light in the evening. Nyepi starts at 6 am and lasts until 6 am the next day. We can tell you one thing: the starry night sky is breathtakingly beautiful on this night when the island is completely dark. Go get a glimpse if you can!

What to do during Nyepi?

Many resorts, hotels, and private villas offer special Nyepi packages for 2 nights/3days including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guests can still make use of the on-site facilities such as the pool, kids club, spa and so on. The only thing requested is to keep noises down and stay on the property. In fact, don’t even think about going out on the street, there are special guards called Pecalang for this day making sure everyone obeys the rules. After all, it is a sacred day for the Balinese people - a day where the balance between good and evil is restored. We must be respectful!

Things to do

  • Enjoy the pool
  • Gaze at the stars at night
  • Practice yoga and meditation
  • Relax, recharge and enjoy a day where you have to do absolutely nothing
  • Be silent or speak softly

Nyepi Day always happens in March although the exact date changes. This year in 2020, Nyepi starts on March 25th, at 6 am and it lasts until March 26th, at 6 am. Enjoy it and feel free to share your experiences with us if you like. After Nyepi, you can hop on your scooter again to explore the island further :)