Giant, mythical Balinese monsters made from papier-mâché and Styrofoam paraded on the eve of Nyepi. A newish tradition maintains that villagers throughout Bali spend the weeks leading up to Nyepi making huge creatures of papier-mâché and fabric called “Ogoh-ogoh – giant monsters paraded on the eve of Nyepi – aren’t exactly an ancient tradition. In fact they’ve only been around since the mid-Eighties.” Ogoh ogoh are made to look as terrifying as possible, their bodies deformed and the faces distorted “From six-breasted Rangda witches suckling their devil-babies to saber-toothed pigs and dangling boobs galore, these mythical monsters are carried through the streets on bamboo plinths.”
Ngerupuk: the drawing together and driving out of evil spirits on the eve of Nyepi.
On the day before Nyepi (ngerupuk) the Ogoh ogoh around Bali are paraded through their respective villages for the purpose of driving out the evil spirits. These embodiments of evil (Ogoh-ogoh) should technically be burnt at midnight as a symbolic purging of wickedness. Traditions practiced around Bali during Ngerupuk vary, for instance, young men from Nagi village, wearing only sarongs and udeng (a traditional headband worn by Balinese men), throw glowing embers of burning husks at each other. The onlooking crowd that includes hotel guests stand around and cheer, and try to stay out of harm’s way. This is conducted all in good fun, with the crowds of bystanders cheering in the spirit of camaraderie.
The Day After Nyepi: Pilgrimages, Smooching and Manis Nyepi.
The day after Nyepi is called Manis (meaning sweet) Nyepi, the ceremonies continue with mass pilgrimages to important temple around Bali. Another tradition only in Sesetan (Denpasar) sees village girls take it in turns to be carried down the street and kissed by a hopeful future husband. Experiencing Nyepi could be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to participate in an age-old ritual that combines colorful spectacle and quiet contemplation. Bali is the only place in the world you will enjoy the real Nyepi. Although both neighboring islands Lombok and Java have Nyepi ceremonies, they both pale in comparison to what you will see in Bali. In todays high-tech society, a day of silence can be rare and wonderful. And that’s priceless.
Nyepi Dates for 2017-2020
The Nyepi Day of Silence is always marked by tilem, or the new (‘dark’) moon that welcomes in the spring equinox – strange on a tropical island with no winter or summer. But parts of India do – and the lunar Saka (Çaka) calendar was born in India, not Bali. On Bali, the Hindu Lunar New Year’s Day marks the end of the sticky, sickly wet season and a return to the dry. And in 1980 it was marked as an Indonesian Tanggal Merah, or Public Holiday: Hari Raya Nyepi.
- Nyepi Day 2017: Wednesday, 29th March (Hindu Saka Year 1939)
- Nyepi Day 2018: Sunday, 18th March (Hindu Saka Year 1940)
- Nyepi Day 2019: Thursday, 7th March (Hindu Saka Year 1941)
- Nyepi Day 2020: Wednesday, 25th March (Hindu Saka Year 1942)