As I mentioned, I went down to Bali at the end of March for the Nyepi holiday, which I've always wanted to do.
The idea behind Nyepi is to scare evil spirits away from the island by having a huge street party and making a hell of a racket. Then, the next day, on Nyepi itself, everyone stays absolutely silent so the monsters will think the island is empty and won't come back.
Seriously, has a better holiday ever been invented?
The party is focused around a parade of demons. For weeks in advance, teams of people in the villages make effigies of monsters.
On the afternoon before Nyepi, these are carried out into the streets so everyone can admire them.
Some are quite frightening and gory.
But my favorites were the smaller ones made by children. Ghost on a Vespa, for example, was awesome.
The Vespa ghost also carried a message of harmony, which was a nice touch.
After the public admiration session comes a parade and a contest to choose the best monsters -- followed by the actual day of silence. More on those later!