Bali Day Of Silence – 28th March 2017 (Saka Year 1939)
Bali is known for its amazing colourful ceremonies and unique celebrations. One that stands out is our annual New Year Celebration, or as we call it here Nyepi Day. Nyepi Day 2017 – Bali Day Of Silence – 28th March 2017 (Saka Year 1939). There is truly nothing like it anywhere else on the planet.
Bali’s celebrates the Saka New Year as the Bali Day of Silence, the quietest day of the year, when all of the island’s inhabitants abide by the strict rules set for this special occasion. During Nyelpi day, all routine activities come to a complete halt: Roads all over Bali are void of any traffic, nobody steps outside of their homes, the airport is closed and no flights are arriving or departing, and no one can therefore check in our out of any hotels.
Most Balinese and visitors regard it as a much-anticipated occasion. Some people prefer escaping Bali due to restrictions that surround this special day. However we feel that Nyepi is worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime.
A Unique Way to Celebrate New Year
This unique day of silence marks the turn of the Saka calendar of western Indian origin, one among the many calendars assimilated by Indonesia’s diverse cultures, and among two jointly used in Bali. The Saka is 78 years behind the Gregorian calendar, and follows a lunar sequence. Nyepi follows after a new moon.
Village meeting halls also known as ‘banjar’ and streets feature papier-mâché figures called ogoh-ogoh, built throughout the weeks leading up to Nyepi. Groups design and build their mythical figures with amazing details and shaped and then mount them on bamboo framework to be transported during the upcoming parade. These artistic creations are offshoots of the celebration since its dawning in the early 80s, which stayed on to become an inseparable element in the island-wide celebration that is Nyepi Eve.
Before the Silence
Before ‘the silence’, highlight rituals essentially start three days prior to Nyepi, with colourful processions known as the Melasti pilgrimages. Pilgrims from various village temples all over Bali convey heirlooms on long walks towards the coastlines where elaborate purification ceremonies take place. It is one of the best times to capture on camera the iconic Balinese processions in motion, as parasols, banners and small effigies offer a cultural spectacle.
Then on Saka New Year’s Eve, it is all blaring noise and merriment. Every Balinese household starts the evening with blessings at the family temple and continues with a ritual called the pengrupukan where each member participates in ‘chasing away’ malevolent forces, known as bhuta kala, from their compounds – hitting pots and pans or any other loud instruments along with a fiery bamboo torch. These ‘spirits’ are later manifested as the ogoh-ogoh to be paraded in the streets. As the street parades ensue, bamboo cannons and occasional firecrackers fill the air with flames and smoke. The Nyepi Eve parade usually starts after sunset.
When the Whole of Bali Shuts Down
However on Nyepi Day, complete calmness takes over the island. The Balinese Hindus follow a ritual called the Catur Brata Penyepian , roughly the ‘Four Nyepi Prohibitions’. These include amati geni or ‘no fire’, amati lelungan or ‘no travel’, amati karya ‘no activity’, and amati lelanguan ‘no entertainment’.
Some consider it a time for total relaxation and contemplation, for others, a chance for Mother Nature to ‘reboot’ herself after 364 days of human pestering. No lights are turned on at night – total darkness and seclusion goes along with this new moon island-wide, from 06:00am to 06:00am.
No motor vehicles whatsoever are allowed on the streets, except ambulances and police patrols and emergencies. As a hotel guest, you are confined to your hotel premises, but free to continue to enjoy the hotel facilities as usual (On Ceningan and Lembonga, electricity is tuned off and no power is available for 24 hours. Traditional community watch patrols or pecalang enforce the rules of Nyepi, patrolling the streets by day and night in shifts.
Ngembak Geni, the day after Nyepi
On the day after Nyepi, referred to as ‘Ngembak Geni’, head down to the village of Sesetan in southern Denpasar for the omed-omedan, roughly known as the ‘festival of smooches’. This is a much-localized event, pertaining only to Sesetan’s Banjar Kaja community. Youths take to the street as water is splashed and sprayed by villagers, and the highlight being two throngs of boys and girls, in a tug-of-war-like scene. Successive pairs in the middle are pushed to a smooch with each shove and push.
Nyepi 2017 and Ceningan Resort
Ceningan resort will be closed for Nyepi. We take advantage of this special annual holiday to spend quality time with our families.
Since the Nusa Penida district shuts down the power grid which mean no AC, no running water, no refrigeration, we feel it is best for our potential guests to seek alternative locations better suited for the to enjoy.
Check Out and Check In Time around Nyepi.
- If you are planning to stay with us before Nyepi, please note that our Check Out on March 27th will be at 10am.
- Check in post Nyepi resume at 1pm on March 29th.
Nyepi 2018 and Beyond
Don’t worry if you missed out on this year’s. Plan ahead for next year’s Saka New Year 1940, on March 17, 2018.
Other Balinese holidays to keep in mind!