By: Ina, Work-Study Bali
The 9th March 2016 in Bali was a bit different than in the rest of the world. On that day the Balinese celebrate Nyepi-Day or Silence Day, the New Year’s day of the Balinese Calendar. The title “Silence Day” fits pretty well, because nobody is allowed to leave his or her house on that day (doesn’t matter if you’re a tourist or a local), shouldn’t turn on lights, work or use any entertainment devices. The reason behind this is that it should be a day to meditate and to think about the past year, and to be ready for the year to come.
For us at the center that meant one day without having the kids around and hearing nothing apart from the waves of the sea and some roosters. Only then you realize what noises you get used to hear while being
here. It feels strange to know you’re not allowed to go out of the center on Silence Day even though there are times anyway where you’re staying in here for the whole day. It made us realize once again how important the freedom of movement is.
The evening before Nyepi-Day is the complete opposite. There are parades on the street with big statues (called ogoh-ogoh) depicting the evil accompanied by gamelan music and percussion instruments. We were invited to dinner before that from the family of one of our students and had a traditional Balinese meal with them, before getting dressed in a Sarong for attending the parade. For me this was the first time having a very traditional Balinese dinner and as well the first time wearing a Sarong. All dressed up we went to the parade which was very energetic and (contrary to the next day) noisy and full of new impressions. So we were following the men carrying the statues and the kids were dancing to the music – You just didn’t have any other choice than to smile and to enjoy the atmosphere.