Balinese New Year

The day of strange monsters, overcrowded super markets, near-empty streets and a great number of bamboo boxes with flowers and rice, - welcome, the day of Silence is coming up!

One of the most remarkable occasions covering the whole island takes place once a year on the eve of Balinese New Year. The name of it is Bhuta Yajna. On this day since early morning there are closed small stores, festive-dressed Balinese and exposed-to-view previously hidden Ogoh-Ogoh.


There is one more detail as well, which highlights the coming New Year – a new place for offerings in the front of each Balinese house. Truly speaking, the island dazzles by offerings – these small hand-made boxes in the form of stars, flowers or just regular squares conceal something very special.   

During the month village youth groups were created these sweet monsters to show them at the parade. Almost all Ogoh-Ogoh are pretty agley, sharp-clawed, hairy, not refuses to smoke or drink.

They are made of papier-mâché, bamboo, with the mix of paper, cotton wool and textiles. Finally, they are placed on the bamboo carriage which helps Balinese to hold them and carry through the streets.    


Strangeness and oddity are reasonable, as Ogoh-Ogoh is generalized image of all vices and negative energy. They are demons which should be exorcised from this wonderful island. This is exactly what is happening closer to the evening. Balinese equip themselves with noise of any kind, rarely even with spoons and pot, but more often, however, with traditional instruments (kendang, drums, kempur, gongs, or gangsa, bronze-keyed instrument), loud music and fireworks. At the midnight these effigies are destroyed by steaks and burned while fun and noise continues till the morning…    
However, to view such a fabulous celebration, you should sacrifice next day, because the beginning of new year saka according to traditional Balinese calendar have to start with emptiness.  Nyepi, day of silence, which replaces noise and din of the previous evening, starts 6 am and ends 6 am next day. It is prohibited to switch on lights and light a candle or fire, and, therefore, it is not allowed to cook, watch TV, and have night lights. It is also not allowed to work, go out, make a noise, use phones, and have fun. During this day no any airplane takes off and lands, commercial channels are blocked.. Life ostensibly falls asleep for the whole day. This silence is protected by Balinese securities which are patrolling in each village. Hotels, however, are opened. Guests are allowed to stay at the hotel area, and some of hotels even offer free lunch. 

By the way, if you would like to visit a supermarket on the eve of Nyepi, be ready to find out crowd of people, long lines and empty shelves – everyone is stocking. 


Balinese meditate, consider the last year, and think about the future. This day is dedicated for gather the spiritual values for the next year. Balinese believe that negative spirits will leave the island because they will not find anyone around.