03/07/2019, 09.53
INDONESIA
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No lights, phone or entertainment: Bali stops for the 'Day of Silence'

The Nyepi is a day sacred to the Hindus that marks the beginning of the new year according to the Saka calendar. For 24 hours, the faithful are required to stay at home to reflect on themselves. All access to the island will remain closed, no vehicle can circulate. Even the numerous tourists are invited to take part in religious practice.

Denpasar (AsiaNews / Agencies) – Flights grounded, internet services disabled and tourist attractions closed: the island of Bali, one of the most popular destinations for visitors to the Indonesian archipelago, today stops to celebrate Nyepi (Day of Silence) , a festival of Hindu tradition dedicated to meditation and introspection.

The Nyepi is a sacred day that marks the beginning of the new year according to the Saka calendar. Hindus observe the recurrence by amati geni (abstaining from lighting fires), amati karya (abstaining from work), amati lelungan (abstaining from venturing outside the family compound) and amati lelanguan (abstaining from enjoying entertainment).

From six o'clock this morning and for 24 hours, the faithful are required to stay at home to reflect on themselves. Even the numerous tourists are invited to take part in religious practice. In the most populous Islamic country in the world, more than 80% of the approximately 4 million Balinese people declare themselves Hindu.

IGN Sudiana, president of the Balinese branch of the Hindu religious council of Indonesia (Phdi) declares that the Nyepi represents an opportunity to meditate on how to become better people in the new year. Three days ago, thousands of Balinese Hindus gathered in the beaches of the island for the Melasti, a sacred ritual of purification from the "marks" and the "dirtiness" of nature.

During Nyepi, all access to the island will be closed, including Denpasar's Ngurah Rai International Airport. No vehicles, with the exception of emergency services, will be allowed to circulate in the streets. Lights will be turned off even at night, except in some public facilities such as hospitals and police stations.

Hotels will be allowed to use minimal lighting and tourists will be confined to hotel facilities. All markets, shops, offices, cafes, bars, restaurants and other public spaces will be closed. People on the island are expected to refrain from using all forms of domestic entertainment, such as televisions, radios and the internet.

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