Gede Nurjaya, the Head of the Bali Tourism Authority, has issued detailed instructions addressing local rules and regulations pertaining the celebration of Bali's official day of silence - Nyepi set to fall on Monday, March 19, 2007.
Nyepi - the Balinese equivalent of the word for silence is the name given to the day each year when it is he 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 6 a.m. on Monday, March 19, 2007 and continuing until 6 a.m. the following morning, Nyepi will be observed by the devout through the abstinence from food and drink, human speech, movement outside the family compound, 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 forces - pecalang will patrol the island permitting the passage of only emergency vehicles and sternly rebuking neighbors who allow noise or light to be transmitted from their living quarters.
Nyepi marks the first day of the Balinese Saka calendar (1929) and is strictly observed island-wide as a day of absolute silence and meditation, including the shut down for a 24 hour period of the island's airport.
Hotels and Airport Affected
Guests visiting Bali during this unique holiday will be able to view first hand the Mardi Gras-like celebrations marked with street parades and drinks the night before Nyepi. Before sunrise on March 19, 2007, however, all will be required to take refuge in their hotels or homes, there to remain until the following morning. Major hotels generally permit their guests full use of their various outlets with the understanding that guests will not venture outside the property, and 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 24 hour Nyepi interlude. Technical or emergency stopovers are permitted at the airport, but no passengers or crew are permitted to travel to or from the airport terminal and other location in Bali for the entire 24 hour Nyepi period. Bali's seaport will also be closed throughout this period.
Special accommodations and travel permits will, however, be issued for medical evacuations, ambulance and emergency vehicles, and women in labor who need to travel to a local medical facility.
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