One of my most special travel moments happened in Indonesia, in 2017. I witnessed one of the most incredible celebrations in the world. In 2017, The Nyepi was celebrated on March 28th, after the new moon of the spring equinox and marks the beginning of the Balinese New Year. Nyepi is a hindu celebration and occurs mainly in Bali. A few days before, a series of purification ceremonies are organized to allow people to get rid of their sins and negative thoughts by throwing them to the sea, or to the river nearby their village.
In Penestanan, the village where I live, a beautiful procession took place. Balinese men, all dressed in white were walking down the main street on the pretty sound of the gamelan, a traditional orchestra made up of xylophone, bamboo flute and drums.
Women were marching proudly in their lace top with a ribbon tied at the waist and a colorful sarong. Some held a large basket of offerings on their head while others were holding a white cloth, symbolic of a white carpet for the gods.
On the night of New Year’s Eve, a scary parade of “ogoh-ogoh” occurred. Giant demon-like monsters of up to five meters high were brought in the streets to frighten evil spirits prowling around the village so that they cease harming human beings.
Nyepi starts at 6 am on New Year’s Day, a bell rang announcing the beginning of the silence day. Four main rules had to be applied by all the people on the island for the next 24h. It was forbidden to:
Make a fire or any flame and cooking
Go outside of your house and travel
Make loud noise
Do sports or work
The reason behind this silent day is very spiritual. Now that the villages were purified, Balinese needed to trick the bad spirits by pretending the island was inhabited. A very ingenious way to let evil forces believe that it is not worth dwelling on the island and to leave its inhabitants alone for another year. At 6 am the following day the bell rang again… the silence was already gone.
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This memory belongs to our new Passenger: Nathalie Richard, @ray_of_nath. All the pictures belong to Nathalie's personal archive and Google Images. To know more about our Passenger @ray_of_nath, click here.