New Year’s Day as most of us know it might mean a hangover or a walk with family and friends. In Bali however the New Year is welcomed in a very different way - with a day of silence.
Nyepi is a Balinese “Day of Silence” which is followed from the Ngrupuk parade that takes place every eve of Nyepi Day in Bali. Ogoh-ogoh statues, that have form of mythological beings, mostly demons are built for the Ngrupuk parade and it is held to chase away malevolent forces. Each neighborhood, or Banjar as they are called in Bali, has been building over the last weeks and months their own grotesque creations of the Ogoh-Ogoh which during Ngrupuk are paraded through the streets, accompanied by traditional gamelan bands, drumming and people carrying torches before getting incinerated to the cheers of the crowd. This act symbolizes the burning of ones own demons as well as chasing bad spirits away.
Bali celebrates Nyepi – Silent Day – by seemingly hiding from the surface of the earth. Shops and restaurants are closed, ATM’s and online Bank Services aren’t working, streets are closed and empty, the beaches are shut, TV and radio stations and even Bali’s airport and ports remain silent on Silent Day with no flights or ships arriving or leaving the island. For 24 hours no one will leave their home or hotel as Hindu religious rules state that there shall be no traffic, no fire or light, no work and no pleasure or sound. Only the Pecalang community police is on patrol, ensuring compliance and rebuking anyone disobeying the rules of Nyepi Day.