Spending Nyepi in a local village near Ubud
Happy Nyepi everyone! Do you know that this is the most important holiday in Bali? We didn’t! It’s actually Balinese New Year. On Nyepi day everything stops. There is no travel (people need to stay inside the house), even airport is closed for this day! The point is that the evil spirits roam around Bali and everyone needs to stay still so they think the island is uninhabited and leave Bali alone for one more year. There can also be no fire and only low lights must be used. So the evil spirits leave us alone 😀
Day before Nyepi there are big ceremonies in temples and we had luck to attend a very local one in our village Bangkian Sidem. Women were mostly preparing the offerings and sprinkling them with holly water. One woman even had dead birds on a rope as an offering. Men were on the ground, playing music, mostly different kind of drums. The mood was light and there was lots of laughter. This is a big day for Balinese people. Not only one day, it seems like the whole month before is spent in preparations for Nyepi. Young boys work on big scary paper mache statues (ogoh ogoh) that represent evil spirits for at least one month and there is some kind of positive rivalry between the villages.
After the midday ceremony, there are some private offerings in temples at home (yes, every family has a temple) and then in the evening the real fun begins. There were three ogoh ogoh-s in our village and boys paraded them around the small village. The peak was when the ogoh ogoh-s had to dance in front of everyone until the local men decided that it was enough. At times, it looked a bit out of hand but hey, that’s the charm of it right? 😀
We kind of wished that they would ceremoniously burn the bad spirits but they just pushed two in the ditch and one was put on display and still haunts our street 😀
The following days was even more special. We all had to stay inside for the whole day! We even got an official notice not to go outside because the evil spirits must not know that we are here. Kind of strange but then even you start to believe it, haha 🙂 So we spent the day working and doing yoga but more religious people didn’t cook, use light, talk or work. Day for contemplation.