On Wednesday we weren’t allowed to go cycling in Bali. In fact, nobody was allowed to do anything! We all had to stay inside, very quiet, with no lights on, making no noise. The whole island did this, no exceptions. Even the international airport was closed.
Every year, Bali celebrates Nyepi, the ‘Day of Silence’ to ring in the New Year. It is a day of silence, self-reflection, fasting, and meditation for the Balinese. As such, there is to be no work, no entertainment, no travel, no anything that can interfere with this process.
The night before, however, is a completely different story, and one of the most incredible nights you could ever experience. It is the night of the Ngrupuk parade!
In the weeks leading up to Nyepi, every ‘Banjar’ starts creating their Ogoh-ogoh masterpiece. A banjar is a bit like a boys club, a place where adolescents learn about becoming a Balinese man, and learn the traditions that they will need to live when they have their own family.
An Ogoh-ogoh is a monster made of foam and paper mache, and is created entirely by the youth of the banjar, with no adult supervision or assistance! The boys are required to raise funds, source materials, and create their Ogoh-ogoh all by themselves as part of the learning process.
During the ngrupuk parade, each boys club mount their Ogoh-ogoh on a bamboo platform, and parade it through the streets of their neighbourhood to a central area where all the banjars meet and parade their Ogoh-ogah’s in a competition to see who has made the most impressive, most fearsome monster.
During this process, as much noise as possible is made by the procession, in order to scare off the evil spirits. There is dancing, banging of drums, chanting, and the smallest children carry bamboo with fire. All this makes Bali a very unenticing place for an evil spirit!
The Day of Silence
From 6am the morning after the ngrupuk parade until 6am the following day, Bali is silent. Officials from the banjar are positioned on every street to ensure nobody breaks the silence. The reason for the silence? Well after spending the previous evening scaring off all the evil spirits, by going into hiding, the spirits won’t be able to find Bali in the dark, and they will go somewhere else to wreak their havoc.
Nyepi day is honestly one of the most incredible experiences you can have. After sleeping in, it’s a perfect opportunity to watch movies (headphones on!), read books, sleep by the pool, and have maximum relaxation.
In March 2018 we will be offering a Bali by Bike tour that includes Nyepi. We will take you to one of the best parades on the island, then share a day of silence with you before heading out onto the bikes again the following day.
If a complete day of rest appeals to you, get in contact today and we’ll reserve you a place!