How do you typically celebrate New Year’s? With fireworks, cheering, horns, loud music, parties, and general hubbub? Well, in Bali, they celebrate Hindu New Year (Saka), which is done just the opposite – it’s called “Nyepi”, the day of absolute silence!
Like some religious holidays on western calendars, Nyepi is observed somewhere in either March or April, so you have to check with a local authority for the exact date. Tourism matters, such as airport activity and stores, will be closed. In fact, the entire island shuts down for the day, with the only activity being for strict emergencies. It’s almost eerie how quiet it is. Even the police enforce this, urging citizens not to play music or bustle about to much.
What on Earth is going on? The idea is that evil spirits come once a year to Bali looking for trouble, but if you fool them into thinking that Bali is entirely uninhabited, they’ll move on to somewhere else and leave Bali alone for another year. No really, that’s the rationale! Tourists should avoid this holiday in most cases, but if you can manage to be there for it, it is one of the most unique cultural experiences you can find. But please be respectful, as this is one of their most important holidays!