top of page

NatGeo: This day of silence brings a fresh start for Bali’s new year

Claire Turrell

A new museum helps travelers understand the Balinese tradition of Nyepi, when work, travel, and the use of electric lights are banned.

The airports are closed. The souvenir stores have pulled down their metal shutters, and the putt-putt of scooters that provides the soundtrack to Bali has been silenced. 

Behind tightly closed doors, Balinese Hindus observe an ancient ritual that has been in place since 78 A.D.—Nyepi, the day of silence. For the next 24 hours, work, travel, cooking, and the use of electric lights are banned. The Balinese have long understood the power of silence.

Nyepi, also known as the Saka New Year, is believed to help cleanse the island of demons and start the next year afresh. Celebrated on March 11, 2024 (it changes yearly according to the lunar calendar), Nyepi embraces the Balinese philosophy of life—Tri Hita Karana, which emphasizes harmony between the spirit realm, the human world, and nature.

The new multimillion-dollar SAKA Museum, soft-launched in Jimbaran, Bali, in 2023, now invites travelers to learn and immerse themselves in the traditions of Nyepi. Visitors can experience eight galleries that show how the people of Bali enter the New Year with a positive frame of mind. 

bottom of page