BALI, March 4, 2014 (The Jakarta Post): As Balinese Hindus will observe Nyepi (the Day of Silence) on March 31, the highest Hindu council on the island -- Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia (PHDI) -- has issued guidance related to the celebration of the Caka New Year 1936. A series of rituals would be adjusted to the tradition and situation in each desa pakraman (customary village) on the island. The melasti purification ritual marks the beginning of Nyepi. In this procession, Hindu adherents will bring their pretima (sacred objects) to beaches, lakes or springs that are believed to be sacred, to be cleansed.
After completing melasti, they perform Bhatara Nyejer in the Pura Desa or Bale Agung, the village's temple, which is followed by Tawur Kesanga, or a ritual of sacrifice on Sunday, one day before Nyepi. Tawur Kesanga is carried out at several levels, starting from the highest at the island's mother temple, Pura Besakih, down to the regencies, villages, hamlets and households. This ritual is aimed at strengthening relations between humans, humans and the environment, as well as humans and God.
On the following day, the whole island will turn into a quiet and peaceful sanctuary as Balinese Hindus observe Nyepi and perform the four abstinences known as Catur Brata Penyepian. They will abstain from lighting fire or lights, abstain from work, abstain from traveling outside one's home and abstain from enjoying leisure activities.
All access to Bali will be closed for the duration of Nyepi and only hospitals and emergency services will be in operation. Hotels will also provide suitable activities for their guests. Beaches will also be closed and tourists are urged to stay inside their respective hotels' compound.