Yesterday was quite a special day in Bali as it was their New Year, or Nyepi Day. The Balinese have a tradition of turning inward for a day of quiet contemplation. The entire island shuts down -- there is to be no activity, no noise, no lights and no going outside. Even the airport shuts down for an entire 24 hours.
For an island with so much constant noise and traffic, it really is such a drastic change. During the day at our villa, it felt like any other day. We still had staff available and all the guests were using the pool and socializing outside. It was actually a bit busier than usual because everyone was forced to stay on the grounds for the day. At night was when we saw the real change. There were no lights on at all. Even the streetlights were off. The only lights to be seen were the stars (so many stars!) and the flashlights of the patrol that were wandering around to make sure no one was outside. The patrol came past our villa a few times and they were very thorough, I'll tell you that! They were even checking in the fields to make sure no-one was hiding from them. The Balinese take Nyepi Day very seriously.
The reason for this day of silence is a tradition that has to do with tricking evil spirits. It begins the night before when they parade around the Ogoh-Ogohs, which are large demon-like statues and everyone on the island makes as much noise as they can to scare the spirits out of hiding. Then the next day, everyone hides inside, not making a noise or using any lights so that the evil spirits are tricked into thinking that no one is living on the island. This way those evil spirits will fly right over the island in search of other people to haunt.
And so today is the day after Nyepi. It is still considered part of the holiday and it seems to be the day that everyone visits the beach. It's usually just tourists down at Berawa Beach in Canggu but today all the locals were down there -- swimming in the water and playing catch on the beach. It's quite the sight when all the locals come down to the beach as they go straight into the water in their everyday clothing. Most of them are in long sleeved tops and long jeans and don't seem to mind it one bit. I personally can't think of anything that would be more uncomfortable than that but I'm sure they must think we're crazy wearing our swimsuits.
WHAT I WORE:
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