Bali is one of the most culturally rich islands on earth. On Wednesday, 22nd March, the island will fall silent to honor Nyepi Day.
The celebration, known as the Silent Day, marks the Balinese new year. As a province, Bali is majority Balinese Hindu, and as such, all those in the province must adhere to the festival’s rules.
While it is customary for Balinese Hindus and those in Bali who wish to observe the day of noble silence to be quiet, stay in their homes, and not engage in entertainment, work, travel, and no lighting of fires.
From 6 am on Wednesday, 22nd March, until 6 am on Thursday, 23rd March, everyone (tourists included) must stay inside. The only exception is in the event of a medical emergency. The airport is closed for the 24-hour period, and anyone caught leaving their accommodation will be fined by the local community.
For the uninitiated, it may seem like a daunting day. In fact, Nyepi Day is a beautiful occasion, a chance to take a moment of stillness and really be a part of an auspicious cultural event.
While Balinese Hindus will not use electricity for the 24 hours of Nyepi, officials have confirmed that the power will remain on, on mainland Bali. Power will be switched off on Nusa Penida.
Speaking to reporters, I Made Arya, confirmed that the mains supplier PLN (Persero) Bali Distribution, will keep the power on in Bali. However, supply will decrease by 30-40%.
Arya explained, “On this occasion, we would like to convey regarding the readiness for Nyepi. The PLN service, except in Nusa Penida, will not turn off the electricity. If there is a disturbance in the surrounding environment, please contact the pecalang (local security) because the PLN team also needs an escort.”
He added that on Nusa Penida, power will go off at 8 am on Wednesday, 22nd March, and will be reconnected at 4 am on Thursday, 23rd March.
Arya explained, “The estimated load on Nyepi is predicted to be around 615 megawatts, so it’s down around 30-40 percent from the normal peak load.”
Cellular services and mobile data providers have also been instructed to turn off from 6 am on Wednesday, 22nd March, until 6 am on Thursday, 23rd March.
Although most tourist accommodations will keep the power on, it cannot be guaranteed that WiFi will not be switched off too.
Arya confirmed that the WiFi connection would remain live in Bali, specifically for hospitals that depend on internet services. However, some accommodation providers turn off the in-house WiFi on Nyepi Day.
Tourists in Bali are advised to prepare to be offline for the 24 hours of the Nyepi holiday or ask their hosts what will and won’t be available on the day.
Arya explained, “Cellular data is dead, WiFi is on like last year, but vital places are alive, like in hospitals. The shutdown of the IPTV network is in accordance with the joint call starting from Nyepi day, 22nd March, starting at 06.00 in the morning until 06.00 the next day.”
What else do you need to know about the practicalities of being in Bali on Nyepi Day?
Food! Since no one is allowed to leave their accommodation and all shops, cafes, restaurants, and take-out joints are closed, it’s advisable to stock up on snacks for the day. The majority of big hotels will cater to their guests, and if in doubt, check with your hosts before the big day.
For a truly memorable experience, head out onto the streets of Bali around 5 pm on Tuesday, 21st March. You can see the spectacular Ogoh-Ogoh parade happening close to your accommodation.
The Ogoh-Ogoh parade features a giant, villainous-looking figure created by each community. The mythological giants are paraded through the streets of every village as a representation of the evil spirits of the earth. During the parade, the evil spirits are chased away ahead of the Silent Day, Nyepi.
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