We have just experienced our first Nyepi in Bali. Nyepi is the most important day in the Balinese calendar. It is a wonderfull cultural event better known as the Balinese Day of Silence and it is a public holiday. It is a peaceful day were everyone hides from evil spirits and it is also a day of internal reflection. It is taken very seriously and everything closes, there are no cars on the road, the airport is shut and everyone stays in their home. The local Banjar patrols the area making sure everyone is staying inside.
On the eve of Nyepi the local Banjar’s proudly parade their Ogoh Ogoh statues that are mythological creations to scare off Evil Spirits. Each Banjar has one main big Ogoh Ogoh and one smaller one for the little boys to push. After being paraded on a convoy around the town, finally they are burnt to ashes as a symbol of self-purification. Each Banjar tried to outdo the other and there are often competitions at schools as well.
So last night we walked up to where our local Banjar is and waited for the parade to begin. The streets were quiet while we waited from 6pm but by 8pm it was busy with local families (and a few tourists and expats) excited to watch the noisy Ogoh Ogoh parade.
From about 7pm some of the Banjar men let off handheld fireworks to give people a sign to get ready. We noticed there was one man responsible for making sure the powerlines and the trees don’t get in the way of the huge Ogoh Ogoh statues. He has a talk stick to push everything out of the way!
While the Ogoh Ogoh is the main focus, right behind in the procession you can see man playing traditional instruments. It was a great sight to see!
Today there was no school and we stayed at home and had a quite day in. We swam (very hot day as usual!), played games, watched a movie and ate yummy food.
Today we also celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary! A very memorable day and to top it off this morning Indonesia got to experience a total eclipse!