What is Nyepi?

Nyepi is the Balinese Hindu New Year, a unique and important cultural and religious observance on the island of Bali. Known as the “Day of Silence,” it is marked by a full day of complete silence, fasting, and self-reflection. During Nyepi, Balinese people and visitors are expected to remain indoors, refraining from work, travel, entertainment, and even the use of artificial lighting. It is a day to cleanse the spirit, ward off evil spirits, and start the new year with purity.

Also known as: Day of Silence, Balinese Hindu New Year

Locals spit fire during a lively Ngerupuk procession in Ubud
When is Nyepi?

The date of Nyepi varies each year according to the Balinese calendar, which follows the lunar system. Typically, Nyepi falls in March or April in the Gregorian calendar. The specific date is determined by the Balinese Pawukon calendar, making it different from the Western New Year’s celebration.

How long is Nyepi held?

Nyepi is a 24-hour observance that starts at 6:00 AM and ends at 6:00 AM the following day. During this period, the entire island of Bali embraces silence, stillness, and introspection, making it a truly unique cultural experience.

What is Nyepi for?

Nyepi serves several significant purposes in Balinese culture. It is a day of cleansing and purification, both of the self and the environment. The silence is maintained to reflect on one’s actions, achieve spiritual clarity, and seek blessings for the year ahead. Additionally, Nyepi is believed to ward off malevolent spirits and bring harmony to the island.

Is the airport closed during Nyepi?

Yes, the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali is closed on Nyepi. No flights arrive or depart during the Day of Silence. This closure is part of the island-wide effort to maintain the spirit of Nyepi by minimizing noise and activity.

Can we go out during Nyepi?

No, it is not allowed to go out during Nyepi. The entire island, including Balinese people and visitors, is expected to stay indoors and maintain complete silence. This restriction extends to all outdoor activities and even the use of artificial lighting. Hotels and resorts typically provide guidance and offer activities within their premises to ensure that visitors can observe Nyepi respectfully.

Interesting facts about Nyepi, the Balinese Day of Silence:
  • Complete Silence and Inactivity: Nyepi is a day of total silence, stillness, and inactivity. Balinese people and visitors are required to remain indoors, not work, not travel, and even avoid turning on lights, creating a unique atmosphere of serenity and introspection.
  • Ogoh-Ogoh Parade: The night before Nyepi, Balinese communities hold a lively parade known as the "Ogoh-Ogoh" parade. Giant, grotesque effigies are paraded through the streets to symbolize and drive away evil spirits, creating a vibrant prelude to the day of silence.
  • Astronomy-Based Calculation: The date of Nyepi is determined according to the Balinese Pawukon calendar, which is based on astronomy and lunar cycles. As a result, Nyepi falls on a different date each year in the Gregorian calendar, making it a moveable holiday.
  • Airport Closure: Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, one of the busiest airports in Indonesia, is closed on Nyepi. No flights arrive or depart during the 24-hour period of silence to honor the observance.
  • Three Main Goals: Nyepi serves three main purposes in Balinese culture: self-reflection, meditation, and religious rituals to cleanse the spirit; ward off evil spirits; and bring harmony to the island for the new year. It's a deeply spiritual and communal experience for the people of Bali.