By Evie Carrick
March 08, 2019
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Balinese people carry an Ogoh-Ogoh effigy during a parade ahead of the "Day of Silence" in Denpasar on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on March 6, 2019. - The predominantly Hindu island of Bali in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-populated nation, will celebrate the "Day of Silence", locally known as Nyepi, on March 7.
| Credit: SONNY TUMBELAKA/Getty Images

New Year’s Eve in the U.S. is usually celebrated with general overindulgence, but in Bali, the holiday — which fell on Thursday in accordance to the Balinese calendar — is marked with silence, fasting, and meditation. Nyepi, as the holiday is known locally, is a Hindu celebration of silence and self-reflection.

Non-Hindus and tourists are asked to stay indoors and turn off the lights as the tourism-driven island halts. Tourist attractions and shops are closed, mobile internet providers suspend non-essential service, and non-emergency road use is forbidden. The Ngurah Rai International Airport said the 24-hour closure was expected to affect 468 flights including 207 international ones.

Elfi Amir, head of the airport authority, said in a statement, "One of the places that are always busy and noisy is the airport, because Hindus must concentrate on their religious activity... the operational of the airport must be halted.”

The airport has since reopened and life has returned to normal after the special day.

While some tourists and non-Hindus may find the day of silence inconvenient, others embrace the holiday. According to Ketut Ardana, the head of a Bali tourism association, "Nyepi is one of the most unique attractions from Bali, tourists actually come because they want to experience it.”