Nyepi, the Balinese 'Day of Silence'

Every year, Hindus on the Indonesian island of Bali celebrate Nyepi, the Balinese New Year's Day. Nyepi is a day of silence, reserved for self-reflection, where people stay home and are not allowed to use lights, start fires, work, travel or enjoy entertainment -- even tourists are asked not to leave their hotels. However, the days surrounding Nyepi are anything but silent - several rituals of offering and cleansing take place before and after New Year's Day, to rid worshipers of past evils and bestow good fortune in the year ahead. Devotees burn huge demonic effigies, whip each other with fiery coconut husks, give prayers and offerings, and young couples are doused with water during a lively kissing festival. Gathered here are images from Nyepi rituals in Bali and other parts of Indonesia over the past few years.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • João Castellano

    The Other Beaches of Brazil

    While wealthier sunbathers may opt for Ipanema and Copacabana, there exists another coastline checkered with picnics of roasted chicken and “farofa.”

  • Evaristo Sa / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: 5/21-5/27

    Estonia’s triplet Olympic Marathoners, protests in France, US special operations forces in Syria, the National Spelling Bee in Maryland, a thousand Indian Runner ducks in a South African vineyard, and much more.

  • Jean Chung / Getty

    Hiroshima Today

    Images and portraits from present-day Hiroshima

  • China Daily / China Daily China Daily Infor / Reuters

    A Collection of Kisses

    One of the most intimate human gestures, a kiss can convey greetings, give comfort, express joy, and above all, show love.

Join the Discussion