Monday, April 07, 2014

Bali 2014 - Day 1 - Nyepi Day - Parade of Ogoh Ogoh

After lunch, we walked around kuta but most shops and malls were closed or closing early. The reason the next day being Nyepi Day. When we booked our airfares few months ago, we have no knowledge of Nyepi Day and never even heard about it. It was when we wanted to book our hotel rooms that we saw a footnote about Nyepi Day so we google and was horrified that we had to be locked in the hotel on Nyepi Day for 24 hours.

The reason being Nyepi is a Balinese "Day of Silence" that is commemorated every Isakawarsa (Saka new year) according to the Balinese calendar (in 2014, it falls on March 31). It is a Hindu celebration mainly celebrated in Bali, Indonesia.

Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, Nyepi is a day reserved for self-reflection, and as such, anything that might interfere with that purpose is restricted. The main restrictions are no lighting fires (and lights must be kept low); no working; no entertainment or pleasure; no traveling; and, for some, no talking or eating at all. The effect of these prohibitions is that Bali's usually bustling streets and roads are empty, there is little or no noise from TVs and radios, and few signs of activity are seen even inside homes. The only people to be seen outdoors are the Pecalang, traditional security men who patrol the streets to ensure the prohibitions are being followed. (Source: Wikipedia). Even tourists are not exempted, but hotels are able to serve food to the tourists within the hotel premises.

Even the airport is closed and planes are not allowed to fly in and out of the airport and no check in and check out of the hotels allowed on Nyepi Day.

We decided to go ahead with our trip cause we do not want to pay extra charges to change our flights.

Was actually a rare chance to be able to see how the locals celebrate Nyepi Day. On the eve of Nyepi Day, they parade the ogoh ogoh around the city and make as much noise as possible.

Ogoh Ogoh are carried through towns and villages in a traditional procession to the cacophony of deafening claxons, gamelan music, drummers music. The basic idea is to make as much noise as is humanly possible for scaring off all evil spirits. In the evening (dark) these effigies are ceremoniously burnt, followed by much communal debauchery into the night. Dancing, drinking and feasting takes place in a rather chaotic fashion, all with the aim of driving these evil spirits far, far away. You can read more from source.

You wont believe it but we actually have fun following the parade and observed how they celebrate the festival. Going to stay out late on the eve cause the next day being Nyepi Day we need to spend 24 hours inside the hotel lol.

Nyepi Day usually falls around March or April so if you want to visit Bali, you might want to avoid this day if you do not want to be locked in the hotel for 24 hours on Nyepi Day.

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