Every nationality and culture all over the world has its own way to define and celebrate New Year. The Balinese use many different calendar systems. They adopt the Gregorian calendar for business and government purposes while for the endless procession of holy days, anniversaries, celebrations, wedding ceremonies, death cremation process and other activities that define Balinese life, will refer to Saka Calendar. Once a year, the whole island will temporarily shut down during sacred Balinese celebration called “Nyepi”.
The day of silence or Nyepi, as it is commonly known is the moment that all the Balinese are waiting for when all can experience Bali at its most sacred and cultural. Nyepi comes from the Indonesian word “sepi” which means “silent”. This is the best time for Balinese engage in self-reflection, meditate and undergo a spiritual cleansing to welcome the New Year. No one is allowed to turn on lights and should remain silent for 24 hours. No businesses are open, no transport allowed on the roads except for the emergency situation. The Nyepi observation this year falls on Thursday, 7 March 2019.
UNIQUE EXPERIENCE YOU SHOULD NOT MISS ON NYEPI – OGOH – OGOH PARADE
In the evening before Nyepi, a hundred of spectacular ogoh – ogoh parades will be performed all over Bali. Ogoh – ogoh are hand crafted giant puppets that represent demons and other mythological creatures. They are made from a combination of wood, paper, bamboo and styrofoam so they will be easy to be lifted and paraded during festival. They appearance is often very scary especially for small children. The name of “ogoh – ogoh” is taken from Balinese ‘ogah – ogah” which means something which is shaken. During the festival, ogoh – ogoh are paraded around the village or town and shaken by the people who carry them to make it looks like it’s moving. According to Balinese ancient lore, ogoh – ogoh are made to represent Bhuta Kala or evil spirits who like to disturb human life. Bhuta Kala is usually symbolized a giant evil creature with scary and ferocious features. On Nyepi Eve, the real demons and bad spirits are chased out of Balinese homes. Villagers create hand crafted puppets or statues and make much noises to attract them. The demons are then enticed inside these puppets and carried through the village. In the end of the procession, the people will destroy and often the effigies to chase away the evil spirits away from the island. Once the bad spirits have been chased away, everyone needs to turn off the light and remain silent to avoid the evil spirits seeing any opportunities to return the island. By keeping the lights off and remaining silence, they convince the evil spirits that there is nothing left and they will leave the village. You may find the largest parades in the city of Denpasar or in the tourist centers at Kuta, Sanur and Ubud.