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The Storm Before the Calm
New Year on the Balinese Saka calendar is celebrated on Nyepi, a day of reflection and silence when it is actually illegal to be out on the streets. Everything, including the international airport, is shut down on this day and hotel guests are forbidden to leave their hotels. But the night before Nyepi is a different scene altogether.

This night is called Ngrupuk and is celebrated with parades of effigies of evil spirits and demons. Any spirits walking the earth making problems for humans are scared away so Nyepi can be spent in peace and the new year will begin purely.

The effigies, called Ogoh-Ogoh, come in all shapes and sizes and are carried through the villages at dusk accompanied by lots of shouting, traditional gamelan music, and the cheering and jeering of villagers. The biggest parades are in Denpasar and Kuta and are definitely a great scene to watch.

The date of Nyepi usually falls in March, but it changes each year so check the Internet for the exact date.
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