The Storm Before the Calm
In Bali, the new year is welcomed on a holiday called Nyepi, a day of reflection and silence when it is illegal to be out on the streets. Everything, including the international airport, is shut down, and hotel guests are forbidden to leave their hotels. But the night before Nyepi—called Ngrupuk—is a different story altogether. The night's parades feature effigies of demons whose purpose is to scare away spirits so that Nyepi can be spent in peace and the new year begun purely. The effigies, called ogoh-ogoh, come in all shapes and sizes and are carried through the villages at dusk accompanied by traditional gamelan music and the noisy cheering and jeering of spectators. The biggest parades, in Denpasar and Kuta, are a great scene to watch. The date of Nyepi usually falls in March, but it changes each year.
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