On 17th of March you can witness something you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
March is a very special month here in Bali and you are lucky to be here this part of the year! Why? Balinese celebrate their New Year called Nyepi – unique and absolutely amazing because instead of fireworks there is dark and instead of celebrations – silence. Everything stops for 24 hours – even the airport doesn’t work. Bali celebrates the Saka New Year as the Bali Day of Silence. It is ultimately the quietest day of the year when all of the island’s inhabitants abide by a set of local rules. These bring all routine activities to a complete halt. Roads all over Bali are void of any traffic and nobody steps outside of their home premises. Most Balinese and visitors regard Nyepi as a much-anticipated occasion. Some expats and those coming from neighboring islands prefer escaping Bali for the day rather, due to restrictions that surround the observance. But Nyepi is worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime. Especially, since the preceding and following days offer rare highlights. Before ‘the silence’, highlight rituals essentially start three days prior to Nyepi, with colorful processions known as the Melasti pilgrimages. Pilgrims from various village temples all over Bali convey heirlooms on long walks towards the coastlines where elaborate purification ceremonies take place. It is one of the best times to capture on camera the iconic Balinese processions in motion, as parasols, banners and small effigies offer a cultural spectacle.
Pengrupukan, New Year’s Eve is loud and festive, before the day of silence. All the festivities take place in the afternoon, and grotesque ogoh-ogoh paper-mâché effigies are paraded throughout the streets. The evening features fire torches and firecrackers, meant to rid the land of malevolent forces. Ngembak Geni, Day after Nyepi is when the silence ‘breaks’ with the morning at 6 o’clock – sharp. The day is a local holiday in Bali and families visit each other as it is a time for gatherings and short travels.