March 30, 2017
We are locked inside the house – whispering like thieves to be sure the neighbours can’t hear us. Outside, the streets are vacant – silent but for the odd barking dog. Last night they were filled with parades of fire, drums, and colourful “ogoh-ogoh” – giant demonic puppets that symbolize evil spirits.
Today is Nyepi or “Day of Silence” and is part of a larger 6-day celebration of the Balinese New Year. Everything, including the international airport, is closed. Everyone, including tourists, are expected to stay indoors and observe the following precepts:
No fire or light, including no electricity. Prohibition of satisfying pleasurable human appetites.
No form of physical working other than that which is dedicated to spiritual cleansing and renewal.
No movement or traveling.
Fasting and no revelry/self-entertainment or general merrymaking.
Spending the whole day inside is a challenge – particularly for those of us with ADHD. We do our best to observe the rules, but ultimately spend the day inside reading, watching movies, and hanging out.
As darkness falls, we quietly sneak into the backyard for a swim. The entire island of Bali is in darkness. With no light pollution, the stars are incredible. Floating silently, the Milky Way on display overhead, I would definitely call this “spiritual cleansing and renewal” – a great ending to our time in Bali.