Bali has started the preparations for Nyepi Day. Nyepi Day is one of the most special days in Bali. Nyepi Day, meaning “The day of silence”, is a day of total silence, meditation and fasting, for some. Nyepi Day opens a new year of the Saka Hindu era which began in 78 A.D. Westerners open the New Year in revelry, however, in contrast, the Balinese open their New Year in silence.
Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, Nyepi is a day reserved for self-reflection and as such, anything that might interfere with that purpose is restricted.
The main restrictions are:
- no lighting fires (and lights must be kept low);
- no working;
- no entertainment or pleasure;
- no traveling (the airport is closed);
- for some, no talking or eating at all.
The effect of these prohibitions is that Bali’s usually bustling streets and roads are empty, there is little or no noise from TVs and radios, and few signs of activity are seen even inside homes. The only people to be seen outdoors are the Pecalang, traditional security men who patrol the streets to ensure the prohibitions are being followed.
On the day after Nyepi, known as Ngembak Geni, social activity picks up again quickly, as families and friends gather to ask forgiveness from one another, and to perform certain religious rituals together.
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