Get to know about the sacred Nyepi or seclusion day and what to do if you are around Bali on March 3.


Some may hear the term "Nyepi", but foreigners who have not lived around Bali for quite some time might wonder what the rituals actually entail. 

Nyepi Day is part of the five days of the Balinese New Year. The third day is when Balinese, especially Hindus, celebrate Nyepi or Day of Silence or Seclusion Day.  However, prior to and after Nyepi Day, there are also other rituals that especially travelers who are around Bali during the month of March could enjoy.  

Watch the Melasti processions prior to Nyepi
Three to Four Days leading to the Saka New Year and full Day of Silence, Balinese, especially Hindus, will get into a procession mode. Pilgrims from several villages will gather in a temple and bring their heirloom on a long parade towards the coastlines. This procession is meant to elaborate purification ceremonies. 

Melasti is recommended to be captured on camera as it is one of the Balinese most iconic images in motion. Devotees of the procession usually wear bright clad carrying parasols, banners, and small effigies. With no artificial lights, only the sun and the blue skylight the way of the devotees. 

Attending the Parade of Giants, Ogoh-Ogoh
Ogoh-Ogoh is a parade held before Nyepi where giant paper-mâché effigies are believed by Balinese as creatively built medium to cast out demons. Effigies could measure up to six meters high and are usually built by the youth organization of Bali in a competition. The best creation will be paraded throughout villages streets on Nyepi Eve. The parade is accompanied by loud Gamelan music and often with bamboo light torches during the night. 

Meanwhile, traffic in the main streets is usually rerouted. During the Parade of Giants, it is best for a stroll through the city on foot. Central Denpasar, Kuta, and Ubud are among one of the most popular hotspots for watching the festive parades.

Unsplash/ Polina Kuzovkova


Smooching festival in Sesetan after Nyepi
Staying in Sesetan Bali could be one of the benefits to watch a unique festivity of Balinese people. On one of the roads in the village of Banjar Kaja, Sesetan in southern Denpasar, travelers can watch the smooching festival where participating youths get in line for the ritual. 

The ritual called Omed-Omedan, from the language 'attraction' will include the 'push and pull' between a team of girls and boys as the village community cheers on them to kiss each other. This event is sometimes called Bali Kissing Festival and held the next day after Nyepi.

The couples are pre-arranged and usually in their late teens. The team are pushed forward by villagers and eventually pulled back. The scenes get crazier as elders enjoy spraying the crowds embraced together with water.

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