by Helene, Work-Study, IHF Bali
From my arrival in Bali I knew that Saturday 21st of March 2015 would be a very special day. From November, all my Balinese friends asked me if I would still be in their amazing island for what they call “Nyepi”. Months before this day, all the youngsters from almost each Banjar (community in a neighborhood) start building Ogoh-ogoh. They are giant monsters which are meant to scare demons on the day before Nyepi called “Kesanga”, cleaning the island from evil spirits for the new Balinese year (to let you know we entered year 1937). All Balinese families were in the street that day to watch boys and men carrying Ogoh Ogoh over bamboos, turning and jumping, while many others were following them making as much noise as possible. It was truly a very exciting moment to share with my friends.
From 6am the day after, Nyepi started for 24 hours. Everybody has to stay at home (tourists also), not making noise (we can speak normally but no music for example) and no light at all at night. For very religious people, they even do not eat and meditate until the next morning. We spent the whole day cooking, swimming in the pool, eating and talking. I was already so quiet… But it was even more amazing at night when there was absolutely no light. We all lay down to watch the stars while hearing the waves from the distance.
I love the way Balinese people talk about Nyepi. They say they give their island a rest, they let it breath for one full day. From my point of view they still have a lot to do with plastic to respect their land but this quietness was truly stunning. In an utopic world I would import Nyepi all over the world.