This day was one of our most epic days on our last journey. Imagine one of the coolest islands in the world, with loads and loads of culture, strong religion and old traditions. Imagine the whole island throwing a party on the same day, based on their strong island belief. That was what this day was about. Or wait, its not performed on one day, but for a whole week.
We met some really cool people on Bali. Jess, Australias funniest and most down-to-earth girl, lives in Perth and works with biomedical medicine. Rickardo, an italian jewelry maker traveling around interpreting the jewelry making of bali to bring back to his shop in Camden, London. Tex, who moved from Great Britain to Bali and opened a really sweet hotel in Balangan because of the islands sweetness. Dylan a Hawaiianese who also moved to Bali because of the sweetness, wicked culture, relaxed lifestyle and great surf. He got together with Astrid who is a Balinese girl full who synonyms with energy and beauty.
Tex, Dylan and Astrid invited us the whole crew join them on the Nyepi festival of their village. We jumped on our scooters and drew like a lingering train, with Tex in front, to this center of temples on the middle of the bukit. Tex described the amazing stuff going on around us and told us some really cool stories.
This is their new year, they call it niepy and it is not a taco new years eve party planned the very same day, this is months of preparations, the airport close down, buses gets out of traffic and the whole island celebrate for days. The Balinise people believe that evil spirits pass their island once a year. Bali has adopted different calendar systems for different purposes, they use the Gregorian calendar for business purposes and the Pawukon and Sasih for their ceremonies, holy traditions, rituals and so on. Nyepi is celebrated due to this calendar and is based on the story when the wise king of India, Kaniska was chosen A.D 78. He was famous for his tolerance for both buddhism and hinduism and the tradition was introduced in Indonesia in that age. Nyepi consists of different days, stages and rituals and is always on the day after the dark moon of the spring equinox.
It begins with Melasti, a ceremony where you should focus your mind, get closer to god and which is meant to clean all nature and to take out the source of eternal life from all water. These rituals occur three days before Nyepi.
Then there is the Tawur Kesange, the day before Nyepi. This is the day the photos is shot, the day of crazy partying. The whole day different celebrations is held and it is a cool mix between their strongest beliefs and plain enjoyment. In the sunset the ceremony of exorcism is held in the main village crossroad, which is the meeting place for the demons. The different villages make their own Ogoh-ogoh demons which they present on the evening doing their own composed show dancing with the demons with music and everything. The Ogoh-ogoh is symbolizing the evil spirits surrounding the island, and the purpose is to get rid of them. Doing the greatest Ogoh-ogoh, and the greatest presentation of it is also a competition between the villages. It is a crazy night and the party is on until sunrise.
On the actual Nyepi day evertyghing is quiet. Its a day of complete silence. The airports close down, the buses stops and no one is allowed to go outside. Except for the Pecalangs, special guards walking around on the streets making sure no one is outside or performing anything that disturbs Nyepi. If you do they will force you to go back inside or make you stop doing whatever you do. Because you are also not allowed to have the lights on, lighting a fire, cooking food, eating, making love not even thinking. It is a day of refreshment, a new start. On this day you can really see how strong their beliefs is, and how disrespectful tourists can be, and how funny it is when a tourist is getting dragged inside by the guards, hahaha..
The following day, Ngembak Geni the Hindu read old scripts and lyrics and forgive each other.
This whole series of events was one of the coolest things we have ever witnessed. Lucky we were´nt one of the unlucky tourist coming to Bali the day before and getting locked into the hotel not allowed to do anything. Thanks to Tex, Dylan and Astrid we got to do the event ourselfes. Balangan even won (for a while) and we got to join on their victory train carrying their Ogoh-ogoh threw the whole village. Wow. Thank you so much guys!
Best of all is that we got an invitation to stay at Dylan and Astrids place in Balangan and join them once again to this amazing celebration. This year it is on the 5th of March, and we ere coming to bali on the 6th… So we rebooked our flight tickets, a cheap entrance fee for this much awesomeness. Nyepi, here we come!!