Imagine that you’re working in a school on the island paradise of Bali. Your students do many and most of their CAS activities on their weekends.

As you start to plan their activities with them this week you are trying to decide with them what to schedule on this Saturday, March 5.

“Maybe we could learn to make a ceramic pot in Jenggala, or learn to ride a SUP (Stand Up Paddle) board at Seminyak, or maybe even visit and donate our time at the Green School in Ubud?”

But not this Saturday – each of your CAS options won’t happen on this day. For the Balinese, and for everyone else on their island, Saturday this week is special.

It’s nyepi – the day when Balinese Hindus celebrate the Day of Silence, the holy day that commemorates the start of the Hindu New Year.

On nyepi, “everyone stays inside their homes but they are not supposed to speak to each other, answer the telephone, receive guests, watch TV, listen to the radio or use any appliances. Lights must not be turned on and no fires may be lit, including stoves for cooking or even lighting a cigarette.

They also refrain from eating and drinking and are not supposed to do any work or engage in any activity. Their time should be spent in silent meditation or performing prayers at the house shrine. It is a day of self-control and introspection in order to achieve spiritual purification.

Streets are deserted with only a few community security officers in place to ensure that Nyepi is observed properly. Only emergency services and hospitals are allowed to operate as usual. Tourists and visitors who happen to be in Bali on Nyepi day must remain inside their hotel complexes where activities can take place as normal. The Ngurah Rai Airport is also closed for 24 hours with no fights arriving or departing on Nyepi day.”

One of your Balinese students in your CAS DP group now turns to you.

He politely asks, “Can all my religious activities on this Saturday count for CAS?”

CAS and Religion