Nyepi, a day of silence in Bali

21 May


After our hectic travels through Africa and India the Bali bug has hit us hard. So there is some delay in almost everything, including our regular posts. We will try to improve on our discipline and publish our post regularly and a little bit more on time.

Nyepi is a Day of Silence to mark the Balinese New Year. For the religious it used to meditate, contemplate and fast. For most people the day also means quality time with their family. The whole island is shut down including all sea and airports. Everybody is supposed to stay in their homes and excessive noise and the use of light is strictly prohibited. The day starts at 6 am and will last for 24 hours.

The night before Nyepi the Balinese people will parade through the streets carrying the Ogoh-Ogoh. Every community will make one or more devilish creatures from paper mache which represent numerous evil spirits. Standing in the middle of the parade some of these creatures seem to come alive. The idea of the parade is to attract the evil spirits to the island before Bali will shut down completely so the evil spirits are tricked to believe that the island is completely empty and hopefully leave empty handed.

Like most parades this one is also marked with lots of alcohol and probably drug consumption. The youth carrying the large creatures are getting more reckless by the minute. Thus standing on the sidewalk taking pictures is proving to be a risky business. After a couple of hours of craziness, some drunk Ogoh-Ogoh carriers start to have enough courage to include me in the festivities. Before long I was being presented to the evil spirits as a delicious white offering.

Besides all the religious and cultural motives of this day, it is a great way to relieve the environment of the non stop stress of human wear and tear. An extreme version, but in my view much better implemented than the global initiative ‘Earth Hour’.









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