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World's Strangest Festivals

Nyepi Day

Where: Throughout Bali.

What: Silent Night. Balinese ring in their New Year in an uncommon way: in total silence. Pecalangs, or traditional Balinese security guards, patrol the streets to make sure people are at home, contemplating what they want out of life without the distraction of lights, television, radios, sex, food, or talking. Tourists are warned to stay inside their hotels out of respect (but are allowed to watch TV as long as they keep the volume way down).

Why: This Hindu holiday is a time for introspection. Nyepi Day follows a series of cleansing rituals, which include cleaning all effigies from all the village temples in rivers and an “exorcism“ of demons, followed by carnivals where puppets with bulging eyes, fangs, and wild hair are burnt to chase away evil spirits.

When: Nyepi falls on Bali’s Lunar New Year.

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