All About Nyepi in Bali – Welcoming a New Year in Silence


Nyepi, also known as “Silent Day” marks the beginning of the Saka – the Balinese New Year. It is a most important and sacred time in Bali. 
For 24 hours the whole island shuts down. No noise, no lights, no work, no fires and no entertainment and no travelling. The serenity provides a perfect space for self-reflection, deeper spiritual connections and a time to consider the year that has passed and ponder the one to come. 
Ceremonies to celebrate the Balinese New Year span over 6 days with other important rituals carried out before and after Nyepi. It is a wonderful time to experience the unique & enchanting beauty of Bali and its people. 
Here’s all you need to know about the Rituals, Ceremonies and Celebrations of Balinese New Year. 
Purification ceremony Bali, Melasti Nyepi
Image by Jakarta Post


Day 1 - Purification Day

The Balinese New Year celebrations kick off with Melasti, a few days before Nyepi. It is the largest and most sacred purification ceremony of the year. The iconic processions involves scores of devoted Balinese Hindu’s dressed in white clothing carrying bright coloured umbrellas, sacred ornaments, statues & offerings. Departing from villages and temples, they walk to beaches, lakes, major rivers or holy springs where the cleansing ritual begins.

Melasti literally means to drift away the impurities and the ceremony symbolises purification from Bhuana Alit (small world – the human body and soul) and Bhuana Agung (the entire universe) from the bad spirits. It is held by the sea or water source because in Hinduism sources of water are believed to be the the source of life – “Tirta Amerta“. It really is a beautiful sight to see. 

This year Melasti falls on 28th February 

Ogoh Ogoh

Day 2 - The Night before

The night before Nyepi is quite literally, the storm before the calm. Bali’s streets and villages bustle to life with loud music, banging drums, flaming fires, endless swarms of people and of course, the iconic Ogoh Ogoh. These giant demonic statues (which can take weeks, even months to create) symbolise evil spirits, demons, witches and ghosts. The grotesque, and sometimes comical, Ogoh Ogoh are carried through the streets in a spectacular parade before being ceremoniously burned.

The goal of the Ogoh Ogoh parade is to make as much noise as possible to attract and entice evil spirits to the island. However by the time they arrive to the island to wreak havoc on the inhabitants below Neypi day (Silent day) is in full swing. The Balinese people cleverly fooling the evil spirits into believing the island is deserted. Nothing and no-one here and so, the evil forces continue on their way, leaving the island cleaned and free of evil sprits for the year to come.

Our Tip: Do not miss this spectacular display of Balinese culture, colour and noise. Be sure to check our the incredible parades which are held in every main village centre. Here in our local Pecatu village, it’s always an incredible show! Also note that many roads close in the afternoon of Ogoh Ogoh day, so plan any travel for the morning.

Due to Coronavirus restrictions, unfortunately the Ogoh Ogoh parade is suspended in 2022. 


Day 3 - 'Day of Silence'

The morning after the chaos of the Ogoh Ogoh is our favourite day of the year – Nyepi. On this day the whole island shuts down for 24 hours and Balinese Hindu’s dedicate their day to praying, meditating and reflecting on the year that has passed and pondering the year to come. For the most devout it will include no speaking, eating or drinking.

From 6am – 6am the following day Bali disconnects from the outside world and adheres to the Nyepi prohibitions of Amati Geni (no fire, light or electricity), Amati Karya (no working), Amati Lelunganan (no travelling), Amati Leanguan (Fasting and no entertainment). This means:

  • Stay on your property/accomodation – going outside on the streets is prohibited. Every village has local law enforcement  (Pecalang) who will patrol the streets to ensure that no one leaves their accommodation. If you do there are heavy fines. The only exceptions are given to emergency services & hospitals.
  •  Be Quiet! –  No one other than those in your private space should hear you. No noisy appliances, TV, speakers, blenders etc.
  • Turn off the electricity and lighting – remember the automatic garden and pool lights! The use of low lighting with curtains closed to navigate your way around is ok.

Does Everyone Have To Take Part? Even tourists?

Absolutely! Out of respect for Bali and the people everyone on the island must observe the day of silence. There is a trend of tourists leaving the island for Nyepi and we can’t understand why because in our opinion, it’s the best day of the year! So grab a book, laze poolside and relax in the pure bliss of a silent Bali. And as the sun goes down and darkness engulfs the island, be sure to look up – because with no light pollution, WOW oh WOW, the stars are truly a magnificent sight to see. 

Our Tip – Prepare in advance. Stock up on your favourite snacks and necessities a few days prior (as the supermarket is crazy the day before with last minute shoppers and many items sold out). You’ll also need to pre-cook/pre-prepare meals the day before as lights and noisy appliances can’t be used on the day.

In 2022, Nyepi starts at 6am on the 3rd of March and continues until 6am, 4th March.

Ngembak Geni

& the Days After Nyepi

On the day after Nyepi people awake from their stillness to begin a new day and New Year. Being a holiday most shops & restaurants are closed. The following day Balinese Hindus will visit families, neighbours and relatives to exchange forgiveness to one another.  It is a time to contemplate values of tolerance, kindness and compassion for others. 

On New Years Day some Balinese take part in the Omed-Omedan ceremony. It’s also known as the The Kissing Ritual because boys chase girls for a kiss whilst other villagers pour buckets of water over them. The ritual is restricted to unmarried youths and symbolises the push-and-pull forces between positive and negative elements. The ritual is held in Sesetan in  Denpasar. 


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