For March 8th I am cheating a little, the actual date of this observance is 6am on the 7th through 6am on the 8th, but I am also including the activities for the following day.

Nyepi is part of the Bali tradition of the Hindu religion.  Though it is not mandatory for those who are not Hindu to observe the day all the residents of the nation do, as well as those traveling in the country.  The day is part of the new year celebration and is recognized by four rules that govern the day.

1)      Amati Geni – No lighting of fire or light

2)      Amati Karya – No work

3)      Amati Lelunganan – No travel

4)      Amati Lelanguan. – No entertaining/fasting

This day is intended to be a day to reflect on ones spirituality and many take this to mean that there should be no talking of any kind.  Many people spend the day in meditation and prayer.  This is to cleans the person for the following year.  To this end no one is allowed to drive a car, go to the beach, walk down the street and all the shops are closed.  Even the airport is closed on this day, though emergency vehicles are allowed. 

With all these things happening the normally busy streets and the noise of every day life is gone.  This makes the whole island seem transformed which one could not help but feel and participate even if it is inadvertently.

The day after Nyepi is Ngembak Geni which is when society goes back to normal but many people spend the day visiting each other and forgiving one another.

Seems to me this would be a great idea for all of us to do no matter what faith you may follow or even if you do not have one to follow.  To spend twenty four hours in contemplation of ones life and place in the world, we run though life quite often not even knowing why we are doing any of the things we do.  You may have missed the day (sorry for that) but that does not mean you can not take at least a few hours soon to do the same.

Links:

Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyepi

General links

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/03/24/opinion/edhogue.php

http://www.indo.com/culture/nyepi.html

http://www.essortment.com/all/nyepibalinese_rnqr.htm

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