27 February 2012


Nyepi is probably one of the most unusual holidays in the world. For 24 hours, from sunrise to sunrise, there can be no fires (or lights on), no work, and no going outside the home.

Bali is the only place in the world where airplanes are not allowed to land for 24 hours. It occurs the day after the ninth new moon when the sun starts it”s journey northward. Nyepi comes from the word “sepi” meaning silent. It is a time of reflection and for families to come together quietly.

The day before, called Pengerepukan, mecaru or neutralization of the spirits of chaos, takes place at every village crossroads. The entire village comes and gives offerings to propiate these spirits. At sundown, in every family compound, people bang on pots and pans and with lit grass go through their houseyard getting rid of any “demonic” influences that might be there. In the village, ogoh-ogoh (colorful papier mache and bamboo “monsters”) are paraded through the streets accompanied by the baleganjur marching gamelan. At the end of the parade, they are meant to be burnt, symbolizing the burning off of chaos and bad thoughts. Some say that the riotous noise at sundown scares off the spirits of chaos and when they come back the next day, they can”t find “anybody home,” so they leave.

Find out why this is called the “Balinese New Year” and what the ogoh ogoh represent in a talk presented by Garret Kam.

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