BALI, INDONESIA, March 7, 2019 (The New Daily): Lights on Indonesia's busiest holiday island were blacked out on Thursday night, airports were closed and tourists banned from the beach - ordered instead to hole up in resort rooms. Tens of thousands of security guards patrolled Bali's abandoned streets, pouncing on anyone speaking too loudly or appearing too animated in their homes. Laughing, playing music, using a mobile phone or even switching on a too-bright light could be attract the wrath of traditional guards known as the Pecalang. It may sound like the holiday from hell for some travellers, while others could be charmed by the novelty of experiencing a usually lively island, suddenly deserted.
But for the Balinese it was a solemn time - the one day the population could take a breath to recharge after the frenzy of five million tourist visits in the past year. Mobile phone companies even agreed to switch off their services to ensure no one was distracted in their day of rest. Known as the day of silence, Nyepi is a Hindu celebration with restrictions on activities, noise and eating observed for 24 hours. It was due to finish at 6am on Friday, when the Balinese would then begin New Year's Day celebrations.