Balinese people use saka calendar, which is on moon phases and has a similar length to Gregorian calendar. Its new year is celebrated by the famous Nyepi Silent Day, where the entire island is shut down to almost perfect pitch dark. However, the tradition leading up to Nyepi is rich in cultures, colors, and mystifying sights and crafts. However flamboyant and celebratory these ceremonies are, the Balinese have performed these rituals for centuries and they do not do this as a show off for the tourists. This is what makes Bali truly unique!
Three days before Nyepi, Balinese Hindus flock to the beach for Melasti, which is a ritual with the aim to purify oneself and throw all the bad past in to the water. Throughout Bali, whole villagers go to the beaches in their ceremonial white wardrobe, typically carrying banners and flowers, to chant the Melasti prayers. The sights and colors are a scene to be seen!
Ogoh Ogoh are giant statues that were built for several months to be paraded in the eve of Nyepi holiday and is eventually burned to ashes. Ogoh Ogohs take the form of mythical beings, typically demons. The purpose of this ritual is to purify the environment of any spiritual pollutants due to human’s activities. Each village builds its own Ogoh Ogoh and their gigantic volumes are mounted on bamboo or wooden grid stretchers so men can carry them around or pull them along the streets of the villages. These parades have become a popular tourist attractions.
Nyepi Day of Silence
Nyepi day is commemorated on Balinese saka new year and it is observed by a total and complete shut down of light, sound or activities. All citizens are to stay home with no visible light from the outside and reflect or meditate for the day. Tourists and visitors are no exception — everyone must stay in their houses or hotels and are not allowed to go out. Lights are to be turned off, TV broadcast and the internet are cut off and no noise or sound are to be heard outside the house.
While the entire island is in pitch darkness, the side effect of this is the brightly lit night sky. When the sky is clear, millions of stars are clearly visible and sometimes colorful galaxies are visible or you can spot a shooting star or two.