The Day of Silence


Day of Silence

The majority of Bali’s population is Hindu, although even non-Hindus observe the day of silence known as Nyepi out of respect for their Hindu neighbors. The rules are simple; stay in, turn off the lights and be quiet. After a quiet day and night of reflection at home, the island will be ready to welcome the new year once again.

What happens during Nyepi Day of Silence?

You won’t hear a thing on the typically busy streets, which are now empty but for the solitary patrols of Nyepi guards enforcing order inside their own communities. The Pecalang ensures that nobody goes outside when they shouldn’t.

Sticking to the four rules of no lights or fires, no working, no traveling, and no partying.

On top of being confined to the house, the Balinese are urged to cover any windows and blinds, no electricity usually signifies wifi won’t be available for the day, and no fire means no cooking.

Non-Hindu residents on the island, or tourists who are staying within this period, would find thesmelves checking in to a hotel, seeing as only hotels and hospitals will be open. Where electricity is available, hotels also provide guests with meals during the 24 hour lockdown. However, certain rules such as closed blinds and minimal light are still implemented, and if a hotel guest is found on the beaches, they will be ushered back to the premises.

Similarly to how Earth Day is observed, with no lights emanating from the island, the sky is clear for stargazing, allowing the residents of the island to view the stars unfiltered for that magical night.

What do the Balinese do during the Day of Silence?

Given the rules, one might be under the impression that speaking is prohibited as the whole island goes quiet. However for Balinese families, they are talking and sharing meals as usual. Most of the time, they go about their day as they normally would, following the certain conditions of Nyepi Day. In accordance to the rules, some would meditate for the day, or fast due to the inability to cook within the 24 hours. A reflective time for the Balinese, it’s also an intimate day out of the year to just spend it with their loved ones.

How to prepare for Nyepi (for non-Hindus)

Here are some things non-Hindu residents should remember before this sacred day:

  • Find out when Nyepi is – make sure you have no plans of going out or have no needs to accommodate within those 24 hours before and after
  • Feel free to travel out of Bali if you’re not looking to spend the Day of Silence on the island, however be mindful that the airport will be closed so plan your departure and arrival dates accordingly to the 24 hours
  • Prepare your meals for the day and buy food such as snacks beforehand, because cooking will be prohibited during Nyepi
  • Take some money out of the ATM in case of emergencies because you will be confined indoors as it won’t be available during the period
  • Close your blinds and spend some time downloading Netflix movies to binge offline the movies and shows you wanted to catch up on
  • Get some books for some quality time reading and away from your screen, if you haven’t made any time to go through your reading list

Nyepi in Bali

Balinese New Year