March 22 is Nyepi day in the Balinese Saka Calendar. Known as the Balinese New Year it is a day of complete silence, with the moon and stars are the only lights illuminating the island and nature completely in charge of the soundtrack. This sacred Hindu holiday is a time of contemplation and renewal. The celebrations start the night before when the streets fill with music and mythological statues during Ogoh-ogoh parades. Accompanied by noise and gamelan music, Balinese men carry Ogoh-ogoh or huge statues that represent bad spirits throughout the island, burning them in a purification ritual. The next day, starting at 6 am, the whole island goes silent for 24 hours. To reconnect with the surroundings, flights stop, lights are shut off and streets are completely empty.
Social activity starts again the next day as families and friends come together to celebrate Ngembak Agni. Joining several rituals, the Balinese fill the streets to rejoice and ask for forgiveness from one another as a way of letting go of the past. A well-known ritual is the Kissing Ceremony, where non-married people are paired together and have to kiss as part of the celebration. Elsewhere throughout Bali, fun activities such as mud bathing and special markets pop up for the day to celebrate.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve is the ultimate sanctuary for inner discovery and serenity during the Balinese New Year. Nestled within Bali’s cultural heart of Ubud, with the Ayung River floating peacefully alongside, guests can enjoy unique wellness experiences, meditation and yoga sessions amid the serene lush rainforest of Ubud. The hotel offers butler-serviced villas and suites; vintage VW convertible tours of villages, rice fields and temples; and dining including the signature Kubu, featuring Mediterranean-European cuisine and private cocoons.
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