BOMBS ARE EXPLODING all around my house. The crack of exploding bamboo canisters, flashes of light brighten the inky night sky. The bright clashes of cymbals mesh with the deepest resonance of massive bronze gongs. It’s NEW YEARS EVE and 3 million Balinese are awakening the demons of the earth with magnificent cacophony. Today ceremonies performed to awaken the demons, feed them, to make them content and less dangerous. They are always hungry, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of ceremonies were performed today to satiate and waken them. In one of a dozen ceremonies at my home a chickens head was cut off over a coconut. Fresh red blood sprayed on the offerings of flowers, rice wine, cake, and candies prepared for the demonic feast. The exquisite orchestra of bombs and pentatonic scaled percussion will go on all night. The demons will rise above Bali swirling about the island looking confused by the treasures of noise. Then suddenly at 6 am- there will be absolute silence- the airports will close- Transmission of television and radio will cease, not a soul will turn on a light. The streets will be empty. All transport will stop. The Ferries that link our island with others will sit silently in the port. In the largest of cities only the birds will be heard. It will be New Years Day, Nyepi, Silent day. The demons roused from their sleep will not see or hear Bali, we are far to quiet. They will fly to the noisy places, Great Barrington and Lenox, to the Upper West Side, to Singapore, Vancouver, Boston and Tokyo.
The Balinese world will settle into balance again for a New Year.