My Full Nyepi Celebration Experience @ BALI (March ’09)
Nyepi is a Balinese “Day of Silence” that falls on Bali’s Lunar New Year (March 26, 2009). It is a day of silence, fasting, and meditation. The day following Nyepi is also celebrated as New year Gudi Padva in Maharashtra and Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in India
Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, Nyepi is a day reserved for self-reflection and as such, anything that might interfere with that purpose is restricted. The main restrictions are: no lighting fires (and lights must be kept low); no working; no entertainment or pleasure; no traveling; and for some, no talking or eating at all. The effect of these prohibitions is that Bali’s usually bustling streets and roads are empty, there is little or no noise from TVs and radios, and few signs of activity are seen even inside homes. The only people to be seen outdoors are the Pecalang, traditional security men who patrol the streets to ensure the prohibitions are being followed. – Wikipedia.com
Trust me, Nyepi caught me unaware. The whole trip was pre-planned by a friend a year ago. No one in the group were aware of Nyepi. Okay, this was how it started.
We flew to Bali on 23rd of March via Air Asia.
On the plane itself, I started to read the Air Asia’s Inflight Magazine and saw a small article about Nyepi. So then, I took a picture of it, not really knowing the whole meaning of it until we reached Bali.
Once in Bali, our taxi driver told us about Nyepi and we saw the parade on the streets. Then, I started to be more curious and asked more about it. The moment he mentioned a “full day of silence”, we were worried because we had to shorten our schedule by one day. Well, to reassure ourselves, I asked the receptionist at the hotel lobby. She told us the same story. For that, we had to sacrifice a day on this trip. Yet, we told ourselves this could be a blessing in disguise. A memorable experience that we might not forget.
The celebration lasted days. On the 24th, again we saw parades on the streets. Its everywhere in Bali.Seriously, I really respect how the Balinese celebrated their new year. There were so many people really involved in the celebration. Religion decorations were everywhere throughout the island. Bali was really in New Year mood.
Since 26th will be a day of silence, so there will be no one in public, shops will be closed and lights must be not visible to outside at all. It’s basically like “Earth Hour” but for full day period with no people in public. We can were only able to dine in hotel only. Windows will be taped to prevent lights to be seen outside.
So then, me and Rachel decided to do some groceries shopping for Nyepi. As expected ,most of the people were in the supermarket for groceries shopping as well. Long queues were everywhere.
By night time, we were ready for the Nyepi parade at Kuta.
Me and my DSLR with the parade behind me. The place was packed!
We stayed on for an hour and we called it a quit.
Slowly, we walked back to our hotel. We awaits Nyepi on the next day.
We stocked ourselves quite a bit of food. Enough to last for a few days….
When there’s food, of course there will be liquor. Since we were not serious drinker, this was enough for the whole day.
The streets were really empty. I took a peek outside and took a few pictures. There were nobody on the streets. In the afternoon, everyone in the hotel enjoyed the swimming pool. By night time, everyone back in the room enjoyed the cable TV. Only one light was recommended to switch on. It was a very quiet night indeed.
On the next day, everything was back to normal.
I must give full appraisal for how the Balinese respected the Nyepi celebration. To have such respect, it requires unity from all the Balinese. This is something that many other places or countries yet to achieve.
Nyepi was really unexpected but yet a memorable experience. It’s a lifetime experience!