Bali Quiet as Residents Celebrate Hindu Day of Silence

March 19, 2007

Source: ADN Kronos International

Denpasar, 19 March (AKI/Jakarta Post) - All streets in the Indonesia's main resort of Bali Island were quiet Monday as residents celebrated the Balinese Hindu Day of Silence for 24 hours. Elshinta radio reported that all seaports were closed Monday as no ferries were allowed to head to the island. Hotels were reportedly fully booked as the various religious ceremonies provide a rare tourist attraction, with many traveling to Bali specifically to watch the holiday celebrations.

During the Day of Silence, residents on the island, occupied by some 3.2 million of people are prohibited from igniting fire, carrying out any working activities, organising entertainments and traveling. Thousands of people, mostly migrant workers have left the island for the holiday.

Only traditional policemen or pecalang were allowed to walk along streets to monitor situation. They are authorised to arrest anyone who violates those 'regulations'.

Prior to the Nyepi holiday, Balinese Hindus carried out a series of rituals that began last Friday when thousands of Hindus paraded to the beach nearest them to hold the Melasti ritual - the cleansing of utensils and more importantly, their souls.

The Melasti ceremony symbolises the purification of the earth and the universe through the removal of all evil elements.