Silent Day (a.k.a Nyepi) in Bali

We’ve all heard of Earth Day on 22 April but did you know Bali has its own ‘Earth Day’? It’s called Nyepi and always falls in March.
Exactly when in March? Well, Balinese Hinduism uses four different calendars … one is the Saka calendar which follows the lunar cycles. Nyepi is the day after the 9th new moon on the Saka calendar!

For Balinese Hindus, Nyepi is the start of a New Year. It is the day to leave behind last year’s misdoings and bad omens, and start a pure and positive year ahead. Offerings and prayers are made to ask for peace and tranquillity in the natural world.

From 06:00 on the day of Nyepi to 06:00 the following day, no-one goes outside. No work is done (yes, even AquaMarine Diving – Bali is closed!). No lights are allowed – meaning the night sky is stunning! – no energy is used at all. All ports and the airport are closed; flights rerouted so they don’t fly overhead. Even satellite television is off. It is a day for introspection.

3-4 days before Nyepi is the purification ceremony ‘Melasti’ which is dedicated to Sanghyang Widhi Wasa, the Supreme God of Balinese Hinduism. Thousands of people – all dressed in white – form a spectacular procession towards the ocean. They carry sacred objects from temples to be cleansed and purified, and collect holy seawater.


On the night before Nyepi is Pengerupukan, a ritual based on Balinese mythology. The goal is to scare away all evil spirits that have taken up residence in Bali in the past year.

In a relatively new ‘tradition’*, huge, very fearsome papiermache monsters called Ogoh-Ogoh are paraded through every village. These are accompanied by surging crowds with drums and firecrackers. Ogoh-Ogoh take weeks to design and build, and are a stunning sight!

The next day, Nyepi itself, with everyone staying quietly indoors, any evil spirits passing overhead believe Bali is deserted and continue on elsewhere.

*In the past, evil spirits were simply scared away by shouting, loud gamelan (Balinese music), and sticks holding burning coconuts.

I personally enjoy Nyepi. I don’t spend the day meditating, but I do read, take time to review my past, present and future. I often make pesto! Every year I notice the birdsong and buzzing insects. In the evening, before having an early night, I’ll use headphones to watch films on my tablet 🙂

In case you’re wondering: Village security (on foot and bicycle) ensure only emergency services are on the streets.

A stone megalith in the village of Trunyan shows Nyepi has been celebrated in Bali since 8th century AD.


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