A Day of Silence
March 28, 2017
For a day people remained at home. Fires were extinguished; lamps might not burn.
On that night I would sit in darkness without even a cigarette. The village was now "sepi", empty and quiet. The demons, wishing to return, would surely think it had been deserted and pass it by.
Colin McPhee on pre-tourist Bali in his book A House in Bali.
It is seven in the evening in Bali, pitch black out and almost as dark in. Only a glowing screen and a couple of tea lights help me find my way inside the large house. I have just a hint of music playing, some soundtrack by Santaolalla.
To prevent this meager bit of light and sound from escaping I've closed all the outside doors and pulled the shades. I am hiding, like the wartime blackouts, but instead of hiding from the Germans I'm hiding from the demons.
It could be I have it wrong.
McPhee wrote almost a century ago
whereas all I've heard talk of since arriving in Bali is self-reflection and religion. But I'll go with McPhee's demons, I figure it's like preferring Halloween over Easter. If there really were ogoh-ogohs expelled last night they may need time to dissipate so I'll give them that time, I won't provide any distractions so they can find their way, to somewhere else.
Here's the official story.
Today is the Hindu New Year, Nyepi, which is celebrated every spring by a day of silence.
Observed from 6 a.m. today until 6 a.m. tomorrow, Nyepi arrives with
restrictions: no lighting fires or any
other bright lights; no working; no entertainment or pleasure;
no movement outside your home except for medical emergencies;
and, for some, no talking or eating.
So Bali is closed all day today, even the airport, though since I can't go anywhere I'll have to take their word for it.
I don't expect anyone to come into my home to check if I've lit a candle or that I'm writing this blog, but there are said to be Pecalang about, traditional security men who patrol to ensure the prohibitions are followed.
When in Rome ...
After yesterday's photo-palooza I'm taking a break. Well just one. Since I can't leave the house I shot this colourful plant which is growing in my bathroom garden.