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.”
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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.”