Nyepi Day in Bali: What Tourists Need to Know

"Nyepi Day in Bali: What Tourists Need to Know (photo: Hakan Nural - Unsplash)

Indonesia’s predominantly Hindu island of Bali will celebrate Hari Raya Nyepi on Wednesday, March 22, which is observed as the Saka New Year. During the Nyepi festivities, the Hindu community is prohibited from engaging in several activities. Then, what are the things that tourists cannot do during this celebration?

In Bali, where the majority of the population is Hindu, Nyepi will also be celebrated tomorrow. The prohibitions on activities are intended to ensure that the solemnity of Hindu worship is not disrupted. During Nyepi, Hindu people use this moment to evaluate themselves and ask Sang Hyang Widhi to purify Bhuana Alit (the human world) and Bhuana Agung (the universe).

Several processions take place during the Hari Raya Nyepi, starting from the night before the holy day, known as Pengerupukan, where a lively ogoh-ogoh parade takes place in every village in Bali. The following morning, the atmosphere changes to silence when Nyepi arrives.

Tourists who visit Bali are expected to respect the local Hindu customs and traditions so that they are not disturbed during the Nyepi celebration. This holy day in Bali is celebrated for 24 hours, starting from 6.00 a.m. until 6.00 a.m. the following day.

During Nyepi, there are five prohibitions that tourists must know:

  1. “People in Bali are asked not to leave their homes. All activities will be stopped, including transportation, whether by motorbike, car, plane, boat, or anything else.”
  2. “Do not make noise or cause a commotion. During Nyepi, residents are asked to be quiet and use the moment to reflect and introspect.”
  3. “Do not turn on lights at night. During the holy day, the entire island of Bali will be pitch black. During such an atmosphere, the night sky will usually be beautiful with stars shining brightly.”
  4. “No work is allowed. All types of work, including those of traders, will close during Hari Raya Nyepi. Therefore, tourists who are currently in Bali should prepare their food, medication, or any other necessities.”
  5. “During the holy day procession, local traditional village officials or pecalang will conduct patrols to ensure the smooth implementation of Nyepi. So make sure you obey all the rules, including the specific rules of a traditional village.”

It’s important to note that during this holy day, access to the internet, cellular data, television, and radio will usually be turned off. This will last from 6.00 a.m. until 6.00 a.m. the following day.