Maybe it’s because of emerging wanderlust, but it seems that more and more travellers are discovering the Indonesian island of Bali. Just ask around; you’ll find someone who went (or is going) there in no time. Maybe they even know about Nyepi. This special Hindi holiday is all about slowing down and finding peace…
Usually, the streets of Bali are full of locals and tourists, but on Nyepi – The Day of Silence – no one is allowed to go outside. (Hindi) locals stay inside, together with their family, while tourists are obliged to stay in their hotels and resorts. To give an example of how serious the locals are about this holiday: medical personnel only turn out for emergencies, such as childbirth.
A day of ultimate silence—sounds strange, doesn’t it? However, Nyepi is about way more than just being quiet: for the Hindi people of Bali, it is also a day for fasting and meditating. Self-reflection is an important part of the holiday, which is why everything that distracts from focusing on yourself (the use of television, radio, phones and electricity in general, for example) is prohibited on this day. There is no entertainment, and some families don’t even say a word the entire day. Bali’s one and only airport is completely closed, so you cannot get off the island – or get on it, for that matter – either. In other words: complete and utter tranquility.
As Nyepi is Hindi’s way of celebrating the new year, there’s a New Year’s Eve as well, of course. In the build-up to this day, the Balinese are busy with the making of so-called ogoh-ogohs: huge, demonic statues made of (painted) bamboo, papier- mâché and Styrofoam which symbolise the malevolent spirits that are being driven from the island. On the night before Nyepi, these statues are paraded through the streets and then burned. From that moment on, the people of Bali are freed from all of the evil forces of the past year.
Living in a society in which we’re connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it’s almost unthinkable to have a moment – let alone a whole day – of ultimate peace and silence. That’s why the Balinese are doing such a great job in celebrating Nyepi: by taking the hustle and bustle of every day for what it is, they are able to live with intent.
We believe that on a yearly basis, we should all celebrate a day like this. For the simple reason that true silence and peace can only be experienced while standing still, literally.