The Bali Government Tourist Office has issued a set of guidelines for local residents and visitor that must be observed on Nyepi - the absolute day of silence that will mark the dawn of a new year on the Bali-Hindu calendar.
On Wednesday evening, March 25, 2009, streets across the island will be clogged by revellers out in force to watch teams of young men from local banjars parade large Papier-mâché floats through the streets. Police will maintain a high profile presence in order to contain any excesses by parade participants and spectators who are often "well-oiled" with rice wine.
The Silence Falls
Somewhat worse for wear, the celebrants will eventually find their way back to the village homes before 6 a.m. on Thursday morning, March 26, 2009, when local rules dictate that island residents must enter into a 24-hour period of silent reflection during which:
• No lights may be lit.
• No work may be performed.
• No amusements enjoyed.
• Silence must be maintained.
• People must not venture outside the sealed and silent quarters.
The silence remains in absolute effect for 24-hours until 6 a.m. on Friday morning, March 27, 2009.
Tourism to Come to a Standstill
Tourist visitors and non-Balinese residents of the island are expected to heed local tradition which brings the entire island to a ghost-town-like standstill.
• Hotel service staff will be compelled to stay at their place of employment during the 24 hour period as travel between home and job will not be possible.
• All roads across the island will fall silent and be available for use only by emergency vehicles.
• Hotel guests must stay on their hotel grounds throughout the 24 hour period during which they will be able to enjoy most hotel facilities and services. Guest rooms windows will have their curtains drawn and outside lighting at hotels will be dimmed or extinguished during the Nyepi period.
• Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport will be closed with no flight operations allowed during the 24 hour period. Technical and emergency landings will be permitted, including medical evacuation flights, but crew landing at the airport between 6 a.m. on March 26 until 6 a.m. the following morning will not be allowed to leave the airport terminal.
• All Bali sea ports will be closed during the 24 hour Nyepi period.
• The once monthly tsunami alarm testing that occurs at 10 a.m. on the 26th of each month will not take place on March 26th.
A one of its kind activity, many visitors actually flock to Bali to enjoy the unique experience of seeing an island of 3 million inhabitants go absolutely silent for 24 hours.
If you're planning a visit during this period, here's some related activities you won't want to miss:
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Meklyis or Melasti. Processions of Balinese Hindus across the island bearing effigies from their temples to the ocean for purification ceremonies on Kuta and Sanur beach.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tawur Agung Kesanga Ceremony. Sacrificial rites are held starting from 12 noon to appease spirits of the underworld followed by ogoh-ogoh parades in the evening of large Papier-mâché effigies resembling evil spirits through local streets.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Nyepi the celebration of the Icaka New Year 1931. The Day of absolute silence.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Med-Medan - a traditional celebration held in Banjar Kaja, Sesetan, South Denpasar that sees young unmarried men and women gather in a local square to douse each other with water and exchange furtive kisses. Thought to bring good luck, the fun starts at around 3 p.m..
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