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Balinese Hindus to celebrate Nyepi Day

DENPASAR ( Travelers to Bali will have a great opportunity to sense a unique and magical atmosphere when Balinese Hindus celebrate New Year Eve, known locally as Nyepi. The Nyepi Holiday (1926) Icaka New Year will fall on Sunday, March 21, 2004.

The Nyepi Day is the day of absolute silence throughout the island when no activity is done, no traffic is seen anywhere, no fire is lit and no amusement held along the day. For the Balinese Hindus, the Nyepi Day is the day of self - introspection for Hindu followers when the entire island turns to be just like being deserted. The observance will start before sunset on March 20, 2004 and will last until sunrise on March 22, 2004.

When the event takes place, Bali will be the only place where people are ignoring any activities the whole day. All of the flights at the International Ngurah Rai Airport, harbor and other kinds of transportation are closed all day long. Lights in public areas, corridors and balconies will be switched off. All recreational spots will be temporarily closed. Therefore, it would be advisable for domestic and foreign visitors to stay at their own hotels.

The daily grind in all over the Island is stopped for all day long. No body is allowed to go out of their house, except for men in black 'Pecalang', traditional security units in charge of keeping Bali in order during the silent day celebration.

All business enterprises, academic matters, government offices and other public services will be temporarily closed, except for some hotels that are only allowed to hold such inbound activities, within the minimized lights and noises, and the guests will be asked to stay inside the hotel. Activities in emergency rooms and maternity section of hospitals will be allowed. Any emergencies will be taken into consideration and tolerated.

Nyepi is derived from the word 'sepi' that means silent. As a religious event of Balinese Hindus, Nyepi is a symbolical replay of these philosophical principles. The world is 'clean' in the beginning of the year. The Balinese Hindus do not celebrate the New Year with lavish party instead they celebrate the coming of the New Year with meditation.

All Hindu followers will be obliged to do the Catur Brata Penyepian (four ways of realization the Nyepi Day). There should not be fire (amati geni) nor works or activities to do (amati karya). They won't be allowed to have fun (amati lelanguan) nor to travel (amati lelungan). These prohibitions are aimed at controlling oneself and submission to God. Everybody has to stay in the individual houses. No lights in the house, no sounds of radio and no works, just keep silent. It is totally silence. The anti-climax of the meditation will be held the following day. It is called Ngembak Geni, where the people are happy and blessed for their success of controlling themselves. It is also the day of get-togetherness and family gathering.

Calendar system for Balinese Hindus

The Balinese Hindus use the Saka calendar system and the 210-day Pawukon system. The Saka calendar is a lunar system and each of the 12 lunar months ends on a new month. The calendar begins the day after the new moon that ends the ninth lunar month. This always coincides with the Gregorian March. The Saka year, which came from India, use a numbering system of 78 years behind the Gregorian year.


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