This year's celebration of Nyepi - a day of absolute quiet and deserted streets enforced island-wide – will take place on Sunday, March 21, 2004.
Nyepi, when translated, means literally Quiet is the religious obligation of every Balinese Hindu to dedicate an entire day to quiet introspection and spiritual cleansing as he or she embarks on a New Year in the Balinese lunar calendar. Starting from approximately 5 a.m. on Sunday, March 21 and continuing until 6 a.m. the following day, Nyepi will be observed by the devout through the abstinence from food and drink, human speech, and even the lighting of fires or lamps. As a result, Bali will resemble a ghost town throughout this period with all businesses and thoroughfares closed. Traditional village security - pecalang will patrol the island permitting the passage of only emergency vehicles and reprimanding neighbors who allow noise or light to be transmitted from their living quarters.
Hotels and Airport Affected
Guests visiting Bali during this unique holiday will be able to view first hand the Mardi Gras like revelry traditionally celebrated with parades and drinks the night before but will then be required to take refuge in their hotels before sunrise on Nyepi, there to remain until the following morning. While major hotels generally permit their guests full use of their various outlets with the understanding that guests will not venture outside the property, special arrangements are made for the hotel's staff to stay overnight at their place of employment with normal traffic between their homes and place of employment impossible on Nyepi day.
Bali's only airport will also shut down during the entire Nyepi period. All flights that would normally embark or disembark passengers in Bali have been cancelled for the approximate 24 hour Nyepi interlude. While in the past transit flights were allowed to land in Bali with the provision that passengers and crew would not be allowed to leave the airport area, Mr. IGM Dhordy, the head of the Bali Airport Authority, recently was quoted in the local press as saying that this year's celebration would also prohibit even those transit flights from landing for fear the noise of arriving and departing aircraft might disturb the island's meditative residents. With the new regulation in effect, Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport would only be available for emergency landings from early March 21 until the dawn of the following day.
Understanding and Socialization
Bali's Governor, Mr. Dewa Made Beratha, has asked all the components of the tourism industry to create a conductive atmosphere for Nyepi Tahun Caka 1926 by sharing the deeper meaning and importance of the mandatory day of silence with visitors and guests who may be affected by local observances.
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