(3/8/2010) In case you've forgotten, Tuesday, March 16, 2010 is Bali's official day of silence - Hari Nyepi. Marking the dawn of a new year on the Bali-Hindu calendar, the observance of Nyepi mandates that island residents must spend the 24 hours from sunrise on March 16th until sunrise on March 17th refraining from:
• Lighting any fires.
• Performing any work.
• Enjoying any amusements or personal indulgences.
• Making any noise.
• Venturing outside their darkened homes.
Visitors to the island, regardless of their religious beliefs, are also expected to abide these prohibitions with some allowance made for hotel guests who may enjoy their hotel's facilities but are, nonetheless, prohibitted from leaving their hotels during the stipulated period. Hotel staff are also not allowed to travel to and from work on Nyepi necessitating that they sleep at the hotel if assigned to work over the sacred holiday.
The entire island of Bali resembles a ghost town during Nyepi. Airports, seaports and all roads go quiet. All flights scheduled to land or take off during this period are diverted or cancelled with only airplanes making emergency stops or performing medical evacuations allowed to take off or land.
A truly unique holiday, many visitors actually flock to Bali to enjoy the unparalleled 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:
Sunday, March 14, 2010
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.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Tawur Agung Kesanga Ceremony. Sacrificial rites are held starting from 12 noon to appease spirits of the underworld followed by ogoh-ogohparades in the evening of large Papier-mâché effigies resembling evil spirits through local streets.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Nyepi the celebration of the Icaka New Year 1932 - the Day of absolute silence.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
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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