Everyone knows that Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, but did you know that there is a Hindu festival in the country where everything comes to a complete standstill for 24 hours?

This is the Hari Nyepi (Day of Silence), which marks the beginning of the Balinese Saka calendar in Indonesia, and dates back to 78 A.D. The festival was observed yesterday (March 14), by Hindus in the island of Bali, which make up about 83 percent of the island, and about 1.7 percent of the total Indonesian population.

Celebrations start three to four days beforehand, where Balinese Hindus acquire sacred water from the sea, and in the days that follow, prayer sessiona and live animal sacrifices are performed, and a procession takes place.

Beginning 6am on the day of Nyepi, local Hindus start fasting, meditate, and refrain from lighting fires, working, traveling and entertaining, and this lasts until 6am the next day.

During this period, flights in and out of Bali are prohibited from functioning, and even ATM machines are turned off.

Cellular service providers also turn off mobile data while Wifi services function as normal.

People are urged to stay indoor to show respect for Nyepi and self-reflect, and traditional security men known as Pecalang patrol the street to ensure the prohibitions are followed.

As for public services, only essential ones like hospitals, are allowed to function.

Although Nyepi is a Hindu festival, non-Hindu residents and even tourists are also required to stay inside their hotels and not allowed on the beaches or streets.

Source: Astro Awani, coconuts.co, Wikipedia
Photo source: Astro Awani