Nyepi is the day marking the first day of the Balinese Saka calendar - a day of strictly observed island-wide silence and introspection observed during which a virtual "shut down" of Bali takes place for a 24 hours.
Observant Balinese Hindus observe the start of the Caka New Year of 1927 for a 24-hour period from sunrise to sunrise by refraining from creating any light utilizing fire or other means; abstaining from the satisfaction of any human desires; avoiding any work or physical exertion in favor of meditative reflection; by not leaving their places of residence remaining inside throughout the period; and by avoiding any recreational or entertaining pastimes during the established interval of time.
Meanwhile, non-Hindus on the island during Nyepi which starts at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, March 11, 2005, until 6:00 a.m. the following morning, are expected to respect the predominant religious sensitivities of the island by remaining in their homes with their lights off. Special dispensations, however, are extended to local hotels which are required to ensure guests to remain within hotel grounds throughout the 24-hour period and that any external lighting visible to surrounding communities be extinguished. Hotel staff on duty during Nyepi remain at their places of employment from March 10 until March 12, 2005, with sleeping accommodation provided by their employers.
Government Issues Guidelines
The Government of Bali has now issued clarifying guidelines for the public during the coming Nyepi celebrations.
These guidelines stipulate:
• Nyepi will be officially recognized starting from 6:00 a.m. on Friday, March 11, 2005, until 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 12, 2005.
• Government offices, public services (e.g. hospitals, prisons, utilities), and hotels that remain in operation during this period are requested to provide on-premises accommodation for their workers required to remain at work during the entire Nyepi observance starting from Thursday, March 10, 2005, until Saturday, March 12, 2005.
• Bali Ngurah Rai Airport will be closed as a domestic departure or arrival airport during the 24 hour period of Nyepi.
• Domestic Transit flights will be allowed to land at the airport and serve genuine domestic transit passengers, but will not be permitted to disembark any Denpasar-bound passengers or pick up any passengers originating from Bali during the specified period.
• All international flights originating or ending in Bali during the 24 hour period of Nyepi are cancelled.
• International transit flights are allowed to land at Bali's airport during the Nyepi period and disembark or board genuine transit passengers. No passengers with Bali destinations will be allowed to disembark from these transit flights and no Bali originating passengers will be allowed to join these flights.
• Technical landings, island over-flights and emergency flights (including medical evacuations) will be permitted. Crews of flights making technical landings will not, however, be allowed to leave the airport premises before the end of the Nyepi observance.
• All seaport gateways to Bali will be closed during the 24-hour Nyepi period.
• Special dispensations approved by local village chiefs will still be issued in cases such as injury, illness, or child birth.
Conflict with Christian Good Friday and Islamic Friday Prayers
Additional instructions from religious leaders of the Islamic and Christian faiths will be issued on the rescheduling of traditional religious observances of Friday prayers for Moslems and Good Friday services for Christians will be issued in due course.
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