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Silent Day and Silent Night

March 12, 2013 – Bali to Close for 24 Hours for “Nyepi” – a Day of Official Silence

(2/23/2013) Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika has written to four Ministers of the Indonesian government regarding plans to close Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, in observance of the Balinese “day of silence” marking Indonesia New Year (Hari Suci Nyepi Tahun Baru Saka 1935).

I Ketut Teneng, the spokesman for the Province of Bali, said: “The letters have long been sent. We hope the information will be shared with all concerned parties, both domestic and international.”

Teneng confirmed that the letter dated November 6, 2012, was sent to the Minister of Transportation EE Mandindaan, Minister of Foreign Affair Marty Natalegawa, Minister of the Interior Gamawan Fauzi and the Minister of Communications and Information Tifatul Sembiring.

The letter was also sent to the directorate generals of land, sea and air communications, the House of Representatives in Bali and all regencies and mayoralities in Bali. Copies of the letter were also sent to 27 government agencies in Bali including the Airport Authority.

As with past celebrations of Hari Nyepi – the day of absolute silence in Bali, which commences the Hindu New Year in Bali, the island comes to a complete standstill with guests confined to their hotels, street devoid of all traffic and seaports and airports closed from sunrise on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 until the following morning.

On the night prior to Nyepi, Bali’s streets and village will come alive with colorful street parades, reminiscent of mardi gras, in which ogoh-ogoh – large Papier-mâché statues, are paraded through the streets carried on the shoulders of young men in a night of frantic celebration preceding the 24-hour period of complete silence during which devout Balinese seclude themselves in their homes.