The Sound of Silence in Bali

All good things come to an end and our Balinese break is no exception! I feel the onset of an acute case of PHB (Post Holiday Blues) and I haven’t even left the island! My PHB is exacerbated by missing out on the Balinese Festival, Nyepi. By one day! Major bummer!

Nyepi is the annual purification in the Hindu-Balinese New Year and a major festival in the Balinese lunar calendar. This year, the celebrations start on Monday evening the with a huge evening procession of “Ogoh-Ogoh.” This is an outsize monster puppet that symbolises evil spirit and is paraded through the local streets making as much noise as humanly possible, in order to scare the evil away. I’ve seen the “monster” being built up the road and it’s massive. It’s so big, I was sure it would be transported by truck, but I’m reliably informed it’s to be carried!

Ogoh Ogoh

photo credit: sukandia via photopin cc

I’ve also heard the locals practicing for the procession which from the sounds of things is going to be very, very noisy and, I imagine, a whole lot of fun.

Nyepi Day falls on Tuesday this year. Nyepi Day is a public holiday with a difference; it’s  a day of total silence across the island. There is absolutely no activity anywhere; no traffic on the roads, no shops or restaurant serve, TV channels go off air… even the airport closes. Tourists will not be allowed to leave their hotels which will  operate with skeleton staff. Hindus believe that the evil spirits will be tricked into thinking  the entire island is deserted, so they will go away.

It’s also a time for introspection. Puspayanti  from our hotel (she’s the lovely lady in the middle of all the lovely lads,)  tells us that it’s a time to reflect and be still. It’s also a time to be thankful for, and appreciate our world, and all the living things in it, from something as small as an ant to as big as a mountain. On Nyepi Day even a whisper can sound like it’s breaking the sound barrier.

Puspayanti and friends

What a wonderful day Nyepi Day must be. The silence must be deafening and liberating all at the same time. I can barely remember a minute where the world went quiet, let alone a whole day! Sure, we hold a minute silence to remember but there’s always white noise in the background. How wonderful it would be if we put the finger on the planet’s lips and just had 24 hours of peace. And quiet.

That would be the ultimate Time Out. We can learn a lot from Bali.

Can you imagine a day with no noise, no work, no travel, no indulgence…and no social media? Would you love it or loathe it?

The Day Bali goes Quiet

photo credit: blech via photopin cc