On Nyepi  day, which is New Year’s day in the Balinese Saka Calendar, the island of Bali turns off all lights and sounds, stops all traffic, deserts all worldly activities, and meditates, while complete silence and serenity reigns over the entire island.

This year, Nyepi falls on Saturday, 17th March 2018,the exact same day that a large swathe of Indonesia from South Sumatra to Kalimantan, Sulawesi on to the Moluccas in eastern Indonesia will be  passed by the rare event of a complete solar eclipse watched by thousands of domestic and international visitors, who come here for the purpose to best observe this planetary event.

Therefore, travelers planning to fly to or from Bali on or around this date please note: On this day, the entire island of Bali will come to a complete standstill, – or American TV would say: is in “lock down” mode – to allow all to follow the prescribed rituals. Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport will be closed. No planes will land or take off for 24 hours. All traffic across Bali will be stopped. All shops are closed. No pedestrian traffic is allowed on the beach or on the streets. There will be local watchmen known as pecalang to ascertain that this rule is strictly obeyed. At night, all lights will have to be turned off. Hotels will close all curtains so that no ray of light shines to the outside. All sound and music indoors should be held to its lowest volume.

On the eve of Nyepi, on 16th March, however, celebrations are held with large papier-mache giants, called Ogoh-Ogoh,  paraded on the beach accompanied by loud gamelan music. These are then torched and,  it is believed, that with the conflagration, any evil spirits that have brought disease and misery to the island during the past year will have also been banished.

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