Festivals in Bali
Festivals in Bali offer people an opportunity to come together and celebrate their culture, religion, and traditions. Some events are spiritual while others are fun-filled and exhilarating.
Galungan Day is a Hindu holiday observed by the Balinese to pay respect to their deified ancestors. They don traditional attire, visit their ancestral homes, and offer offerings to the gods on this auspicious occasion.
Festivals in Bali
Galungan and Kuningan
Galungan and Kuningan are two of Bali’s most beloved festivals. Rooted in Balinese mythology, these festivals commemorate both the return of the dead as well as dharma (good) over adharma (evil).
On this day, the spirits of our ancestors descend upon earth to visit their families. They are welcomed with lavish feasts and meaningful religious ceremonies.
Around this time of year, streets throughout Bali are festooned with stunning ‘Penjor’ bamboo poles made from young coconut leaves and ornaments made from crops such as rice, corn, and coconuts. The Penjor is a symbol of prosperity that can be seen at home, in villages, or along the streets.
Traditions associated with Galungan and Kuningan celebrations include the preparation of rice cakes called jaja, which are baked on the day before Galungan and eaten during festivities.
As part of their celebrations, Balinese people will visit their local temples and family shrines to make offerings. These typically consist of flowers, fruits, and a special dish of yellow rice.
Children may take part in the Barong Dance – Ngelawang, a joyful ritual where they dress up as panthers and dance from door to door. This delightful expression of creativity and imagination is integral to Balinese culture.
Galungan and Kuningan, celebrated 25 days before Galungan and Kuningan, are important festivals to the Bali Hindu community. Therefore, visiting Bali around this time can be a great idea to experience some of these festivities first-hand.
Odalan is one of Bali’s most significant festivals, taking place every 210 days according to the Balinese calendar. To commemorate this event, nearly every temple on the island holds some form of ceremony or ritual.
On Odalan, Hindus pay their reverence to their gods through offerings, prayers, and rituals. Additionally, they take part in numerous cultural events such as dance performances and procession rituals.
This festival takes place at the revered Mother Temple of Bali, Pura Besakih. Thousands come together to pay their respects to this holy site as they participate in religious processions, offerings, and traditional dance performances. It serves as a day of remembrance for Bali Hindus.
Odalan rites have been an integral part of Balinese culture for centuries. They feature stunning displays of colors designed to appease the Hindu deities and maintain them in their rightful places.
Experience the ancient Odalan rituals at any of Bali’s tens of thousands of temples and get a true taste of Balinese culture at Four Seasons Resort Bali Jimbaran Bay where our Priest Ajik Ngurah will lead guests through our Resort’s temple for an unforgettable odalan ceremony.
At these ceremonies, priests perform various trances and dances to appease the Gods. Additionally, they sacrifice animals for God’s sake as well as present various other gifts to the temple’s deities.
Odalan is an important holiday for Hindus, symbolizing rebirth and spirituality. On this day, the entire community of Bali comes together for prayers and cleansing rituals to commemorate this auspicious occasion.
Soundrenaline, one of Indonesia’s hottest music festivals, takes place at Garuda Wisnu Kencana from September 7 and 8. Featuring international headliners as well as local artists from Southeast Asia, this festival promises an unforgettable experience for music fans in Indonesia and beyond.
Established in 2002, Soundrenaline has become a mainstay of Bali’s music scene for its unique collaborations. Recent examples include Glenn Fredly jamming with Kelompok Penerbang Roket and folk band Dialog Dini Hari joining forces to play with electronic rock duo Scaller.
On September 7 and 8, Soundrenaline returned to GWK Park at Bali’s Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park for its 17th edition, featuring Suede as its main headliner.
Soundrenaline not only featured music but also an array of activities to keep audiences engaged. These included cooking demos from multiple artists, a Street Musician, and Rap Battle. Furthermore, there was a marketplace filled with 40 tenants.
Another unique element of this year’s festival was standup comedy. Desy Bachir, CMO of Samara Media & Entertainment, expressed her delight at working with Ravel Entertainment to present non-music content at the festival.
She challenged festival organizers to keep innovating and exploring to remain competitive in their industry. “Today’s music industry requires a great deal of innovation,” she noted.
Soundrenaline 2022 will bring some of the top musical acts from around the world to Jakarta for two days of performances. International artists include Weezer, Neck Deep, Plain White Ts, Mura Masa, Secondhand Serenade, FKJ Hollow Coves Mono A Place To Bury Strangers Ignite and The Ataris; plus Indonesian performers Isyana Sarasvati Barasuara Potret Rocket Rockers and more.
Ogoh Ogoh Parade
On the night before Nyepi (Balinese Saka New Year), Bali hosts an exuberant street procession complete with firecrackers and massive monster effigies knew as ogoh-ogoh. These demons are said to drive away evil spirits before Nyepi begins at midnight on March 31st and lasts 24 hours.
In the weeks leading up to Nyepi, young men from each village banjar (community hall) in Bali dedicate days and nights to crafting ogoh-ogoh, or paper mache effigies crafted into mythological beings such as demons and beasts.
On the eve of the Ogoh-Ogoh parade, each village unveils its creation on a designated street. A team of men from the banjar then carry it in procession as part of an elaborate display.
Each ogoh-ogoh must be vigorously shaken when being moved, this is believed to ward off any evil spirits that might enter. They then proceed through each T-junction and crossroads rotating counterclockwise three times.
This ritual is believed to cause the evil spirits inside of an ogoh-ogoh to become confused, eventually leading them away and burning away. Since these creatures can be quite large and frightening for children, it’s best to watch from a distance.
Local artists are working to bring ogoh-ogoh back to its environmentally friendly roots. Made Bayak, an artist from Banjar Sakih ward in Gianyar district, is leading this campaign and advocating against using styrofoam in production – to help Bali restore its natural balance and safeguard the environment.
Traditional ogoh-ogoh are made from bamboo and paper; however, in recent years artisans have increasingly switched to Styrofoam, a more malleable medium that requires less precision when crafting them.
Bali Kite Festival
The Bali Kite Festival is one of Bali’s most beloved festivals, taking place during the dry season (July to October) and signaling the start of windy conditions. This traditional event draws thousands of visitors annually and showcases Bali’s vibrant culture.
On the beach of Sanur, hundreds of teams from Bali’s banjars (local communities) compete for a monetary prize. It is truly a community event, bringing people from different villages together who design and craft their kites at communal ‘banjar’ village halls weeks before the main event.
Due to their size, kites require an entire team of people to operate them safely. Each member must possess their own ‘flyers’ and ‘launchers’ so that the kites can take off and fly without incident.
Kite flying has been practiced in Bali for over 3000 years. This ancient ritual is believed to have been used by Hindu gods as a means of asking for an abundant harvest from above.
Balinese Kites are traditionally constructed out of bamboo and thin paper in the shapes of fish (Bebean), birds (Janggan), and leaves (Pecukan).
Hindu kites are often decorated with symbols of the deities. The most popular kite is called Pecukan, featuring four corners arranged into a band shape.
The Kite Festival is an inspiring and competitive event, featuring teams from local villages competing for titles like ‘best launch’, ‘best design’, and ‘longest flight’. It offers visitors a unique insight into Bali that not many get to experience – perfect for both kids and adults!
Summer Festivals in Bali
In Karangasem in June, there’s a network disapproved of the celebration that goes on. Anticipate customary dress and nearby nourishment and expressions. Thus, the Bali Arts Festival happens in the month in Denpasar, flaunting everything great about conventional Balinese moving: Kecak moving and more warms up in opposition between various town move gatherings. There’s additionally writing, creation, and different expressions.
Bali Kite Festival happens in July in South Bali and sees giant kites (like 10-meters enormous) take off into the sky. They can be seriously flown by various groups. Universal groups get included as well, yet the celebration has its underlying foundations in approaching the Hindu divine beings for a copious gathering.
August 17 denotes Indonesia’s Independence Day – expect walking schoolchildren on the roads and that kind of thing. Surf-disapproved explorers should hit up Padang Beach, where worldwide surf rivalries occur in August.
Fall Festivals in Bali
Lovina Festival in the town of Kalibukbuk (North Bali) is an opportunity to see a customary Balinese walking band and the gebogan march: towers of foods grown from the ground – contributions for the divine beings – adjusted on the heads of women on their way to the hallowed places. It happens in September.
In October, prepare for the Nusa Dua Fiesta. At this energetic occurrence, you’ll get the opportunity to absorb fascinating displays of craftsmanship, culture, game, and music, at the same time tucking into some delicious nourishment and participating in certain beverages.
In West Bali, different paddy fields are transformed into racecourses to clear a path for the Makepung Buffalo Races. Skilled riders contend on carriages (similar to changed, conventional furrows) pulled by two bison – every one of them decked out in brilliantly hued formal attire; the finals of this genuine Grand Prix happen in November.
Chinese New Year is a severe deal in Bali when Balinese individuals of Chinese drop riot with lion moving and wushu exhibitions (think sword battling and somersaults). Go for the celebrations, and remain for the heavenly, flavorful bites. It happens in January or February, contingent upon the lunar schedule.
One thing we haven’t referenced at this point is Galungan. Galungan, fundamentally, praises the triumph of dharma (truth) over adharma (insidious). This massive, multi-day celebration is, after Nyepi, the greatest of arrangements here. Boulevards are enriched with penjor – immense, elaborately adorned bamboo posts with contributions attached to the parts of the bargains. Individuals visit their families, penance pigs, and chickens, feast, and petition God for the spirits of predecessors who come to Earth upon the arrival of Galungun itself.
Ten days after Galungan is Kalingan, denoting the day when the spirits of precursors come back to the hereafter. A large number of the previous days Galungan, and among Galungan and Kalingan, are named explicitly and are related to a specific piece of the celebration. Penyekeban, for instance, is a day of concocting bananas for contributions and happens three days before Galungan.
For what reason didn’t we notice it previously? Since this celebration depends on the wild 210-day pakuwon – or Balinese schedule. That implies that Galungan frequently happens two times every year, and regularly in extremely, changing months! In 2019, it was in July, while in 2020, it was in February and September.