The Balinese New Year in the lunar (saka) calendar, this holy day almost always occurs during the spring equinox toward the end of March or beginning of April. Nyepi is a day of silent retreat, prayer, and quiet meditation's Day the World Stood Still. It feels like Bali 35 years ago: no electricity, no cars, no tourists as the people sleep so do the dogs. The new year must begin with complete nothingness because all existence originates from nothingness.
The purpose of this behavior is to suppress passion, teach control of excesses, and practice semadhi. No transportation is taken, no work done, no lamps burned, and no sexual or other sensory pleasures are indulged in. Meals are prepared in advance as no fires may be lit, only small candies inside the home are permitted. You may not read, smoke, cook, or eat, and for 24 hours no one leaves the house compound.
To see that stillness is preserved, male members of the local ban/ar keep silent watch at points along the roads and in the alleys. Only those with special written exemptions are allowed on the roads or into other public areas. If guests must leave for the airport, the hotel has to submit the names of those leaving to the banjar. Streets are patrolled and if the occupant of a stopped car is not on the list, there could be a problem.
Restaurants, offices, and shops are closed, traffic lights are shut off, and even Denpasar's streets are deserted. Bali's ports are closed down because no ships or ferries are in operation. To find their way around grounds, hotel staff cany shaded flashlights pointed downward.
Why all this? The Balinese hope that the demons and evil spirits aroused by the noise the night before will be deluded into thinking that Bali is completely devoid ot lite, prompting them to leave the island.