By the time you are reading this, the island of Bali will be emerging back into the world after celebrating Nyepi – 24 hours of sacred silence that is part of the annual Hindu Balinese New Year.
The world ‘Nyepi’ derives from the word ‘sepi’ which means silence. It signifies the time when the entire island goes into silence. Nobody leaves their homes and all the restaurants, stores and even the airport is closed (there are no planes flying in or out).
This sounds a little too familiar to all of us right now!
Anyway, unlike most New Year’s celebrations around the world, Balinese New Year consists of cleansing, meditation, prayer and fasting. In the weeks leading up to Nyepi, entire villages will journey together carrying offerings to a beach, river or holy spring to perform purification rituals that are symbolic of cleansing away past deeds and karma.
Another highlight is the spectacular Nyepi (New Years Eve) parade. Each ‘Banjar village creates their own huge fantastical ‘Ogoh-ogoh’ monsters and demons made from paper-mache, bamboo and other materials that are inspired by Hindu and Balinese mythology. They parade these fantastical creatures on the streets along with live music, food and festivity. The Ogoh Ogoh parade ends at sunset with the ceremonial burning of all the creations to dispel all the negativity of the past.
While the Ogoh-Ogoh and many of the other group events typically celebrated over Nyepi won’t happen this year, the highpoint is always the beautiful 24 hours of pure and sacred silence. Most technology is turned off so it really is an opportunity to slow down (take a digital detox) and simply appreciate the beauty of being. Nyepi is a time for introspection and self-reflection as well as setting intentions for the year ahead.
Today is the day after Nyepi. The electricity is back on, fires are lit and everyone becomes social once more.
Happy Nyepi to all our Balinese staff and guests who stayed with us at our resorts this weekend.