I’m writing this post on Nyepi Eve but I’m scheduling it to post tomorrow, on the day itself. Why not write it tomorrow? The traditions surrounding New Year here are unique to Bali – a day of silence where no one leaves the house, no lights or electricity are used and the island appears abandoned to all but the birds and animals that share it as their home. The TV signal is scrambled but our banjar doesn’t go as far as cutting the electric. However I’m going to try to mark the occasion by taking the opportunity to have a day off my computer until boredom wins out, at least.
I think Nyepi is probaby my favourite ceremony of them all. Hindu or not, nobody gets the chance to ignore Nyepi in Bali. The airport is closed, there are no cars on the roads, tourists are trapped in their hotels and the night is the blackest of black with a million shining stars free of pollution from electric lights and traffic fumes.
There is just something really special about taking a day off from everything and I feel so lucky to be here every time Nyepi rolls around. Another new year (1935 according to the Balinese Saka calendar), another chance for a fresh start. No distant traffic to spoil the silence and a day for the earth to exist naturally. What a great way to start the year, don’t you think?
On Nyepi eve we parade Ogoh Ogoh – effigies of demonic entities around the village and make a lot of noise to scare away any malevolent spirits. The hope is that when they return, there’ll be no sign of human life and they’ll go away to bother someone else.
Maya and Kiran were both very excited by the Ogoh Ogoh this year and have been watching them being made in the village with great excitement for weeks. I left Maya with Made after watching the parade set off and then Kiran and I returned home to bash some pots and pans and get those evil spirits out.
Here’s to another year of life and love in Bali.