Temple by the lake

A few days ago, a unique celebration in the world took place only in Bali, on the 28 March 2017.

It is the Balinese New Year that based on the Saka calendar. The Balinese New Year takes place on a whole day dedicated to silence, through this meditation we free our mind from the negative energies. Its purpose is to make the demons believe that the island is deserted so that they do not return to disturb the inhabitants. During 24 hours nobody can go outside or work. Everyone must follow this ritual despite of their religion or belief, Balinese as well as foreigners.

Through this festivity we can see a little of Balinese nationalism face to the modernity who is spreading in Indonesia. The Nyepi is preceded by the Ogoh-Ogoh processions.

The day before Neypi, I went with friends to see the Ogoh ogoh processions in Kuta, it was difficult for us to come back home, because all roads were blocked following the defiles.

Ogoh-ogoh parade

Then we came back, the owner of our guest house had warned us. On Nyepi day we do not have the right to turn on the light, or the television from 6am on the 28th until 6am on 29th March.

The only visible people outside are the tourism police and the traditional guards known as pecalang who patrol in the streets to check if the customs are respected.

Pecalang (traditional security officers) on patrol during Nyepi day

Even if it is a Hindu festival, everyone respects the day of silence on respect for their fellow citizens.

It was very intense as a stranger to be able to attend this, at least once in his life, taking a day in the year to meet and meditate.

Justine Merre

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