Nyepi 2023 is next week, so here are some essential facts and information about this important Hindu celebration day in Bali and why we absolutely love Nyepi.
Not many people know about Nyepi unless they’ve lived in Bali for a long time or are local.
In fact, many holidaymakers to Bali will arrive when Nyepi falls smack bang in the middle of their holiday/vacation, and they can be a little confused about what it means, the rules and the significance for the Balinese people. Well, let’s break it all down and demystify Nyepi.
Read more at Nyepi: Bali’s New Year’s Day of Complete Silence
Nypei is when the island of Bali completely shuts down for a full 24-hour period, and I mean the place is eerily quiet; nothing is open, the streets are empty, and everyone is inside their home, villa or village. All lights are switched off; no loud noises, music, or TV (you can have Netflix on your computer). You can not leave the villa or hotel and must be extremely quiet, hence the Day of Silence. I love Nyepi and what it means for Bali. It’s such a special day where all the craziness, traffic, chaos and liveliness that is typically Bali is turned off for a day. Here you get to reflect and enjoy peace with family or friends in the privacy of your accommodation. There is nothing like this anywhere else in the world which makes Nyepi such a significant event, except for tiny, gorgeous Bali.
If you’re reading this and thinking that Nyepi will interrupt and disturb your daily trip to the beach, day spa or shopping excursion, your right. But, before you start cancelling flights and rearranging your holiday accommodation, remember that Nyepi is a beautiful experience that you should embrace and enjoy and treat as part of the holiday experience (in my opinion, at least).
NYEPI 2023 IN BALI: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
When is Nyepi?
This year, Nyepi falls on Wednesday, March 22nd 2023, beginning at 6 am and finishing 24 hours later at 6 am on March 23rd. The dates for Nyepi change each year, so you should Google it if you’re planning a trip to Bali in 2024.
So, what is Nyepi?
For the Balinese, Nyepi is a Hindu celebration that recognises the beginning of the new year. It’s a day when the island get’s spiritually cleansed from last year’s negative omens and evil spirits, ensuring a positive and successful near year. As explained above, everything is shut for 24 hours, including Bali airport and flights don’t land in Bali. Everything is closed, shut, and the streets are super-quiet – how brilliant!!
What happens during Nyepi?
On Nyepi Day, throughout Bali, the people are in their villages or homes and enjoying the silence. They prey, meditate and for 1 day a year, they get to spend the entire Day with their family without rushing to work, school etc. The Day before Nyepi, the streets of Bali teem with people making loud sounds with traditional gamelan and lots of colourful offerings. The villagers also make massive wood or bamboo monsters, also known as Ogoh-Ogoh, paraded around the local streets and accompanied by loud music. There’s a real community vibe here; watching this first-hand is a privilege. It’s the exact opposite of the following Day which is super-silent.
Do foreigners and holidaymakers have to celebrate Nyepi?
All foreigners on the island of Bali MUST observe Nyepi and follow the rules to the letter. If you are in a villa or hotel, you MUST stay within the confines. The streets are rigorously patrolled by local security, and they will send you directly back, perhaps with a stern warning. But don’t stress out too much – think about it you are in a gorgeous luxury Bali villa or hotel, and you can swim, chill out, sunbake, whatever, so long as the noise and lights are kept to a minimum. Think of it as family bonding time. Break out the Uno, card games or catch up on the latest Netflix series you’ve been putting off, and answer a few work emails; Nyepi is all about downtime in Bali. Remember, if you will put the lights on, then draw the curtains closed.
Top Nyepi tips for everyone
FOOD – If you’re staying in a private Bali villa and not a hotel, you will need to see if meals will be provided, and if not, you’ll have to stock up on your shopping big time. There are many supermarkets in Bali (like the one below) where you can get everything to eat and cook at the villa. The villa reservation team will inform you about this – ask them. Please don’t leave the shopping to the last minute; it gets crazy as everyone waits till the last moment.
TRAVEL – Most roads around Bali will start closing at around 4 pm the previous Day for the Ogoh-Ogoh parades in each village. So, getting last-minute shopping or the last gym workout may be tricky. So, now’s when you should be heading home, bunkering in and chilling out.
BUSINESS – Since Nyepi is a significant day for the Balinese, all businesses will be shut so that staff, employees and owners can spend time with their families. Banks, money changers, airport, cafes, day spas, tours and restaurants are all shut. So if you have anything planned for that Day, reschedule it.
THE OGOH-OGOH PARADE – One of the coolest things about Nyepi is the festivities that occur the night before Silent Day, which are the Ogoh-Ogoh parades. Every Balinese village has a parade, starting around sunset time, so be sure to check out your local parade near your villa or hotel. Your villa manager or concierge can point you in the right direction. Keep it local, as road closures mean that car or scooter transport will be difficult.
Selamat Hari Raya Nyepi, guys!