3 Must-visit Festivals and Events in Bali

What makes you traveling to Bali? Because of its tropical beach, the exotic cuisine, the rave nightlife, or the annual events in Bali like a cultural festival?

Bali hosts plenty number of interesting festivals and events throughout the year. See a cultural festival to celebrating the rich heritage of the Balinese people. It could give you a great opportunity of outstanding experience since these annual events arranged from arts and Hinduism philosophy. So, let yourself to be immersed in their culture and gathering with locals and some activities you can also take part in.

Here is the list of annual festivals and events that you have to see when visiting Bali, bring your camera and enjoy the must-visit events on this paradise island. Don’t worry, and you won’t be disappointed!

Nyepi and The Ogoh-ogoh Festival

The Balinese new year consists of two parts, a very noisy one, well known as Nyepi Eve – and a very quiet one, called Nyepi Day.

Nyepi is the first day of the Saka New Year which is celebrated throughout Bali. The day before Nyepi called Melasti, it means to the great purification. The Balinese go to the sea or lake to purify their bodies. On the Nyepi Eve, the Balinese pray in the temple to warning away any evil spirits for the year ahead.

After that, around 7 pm, the main road filled with a grand march of colorful papier-mâché monsters or demons folk statues called Ogoh-ogoh. It is representing the past year’s demon. As the street parades begin, bamboo cannons and firecrackers fill the air with flames and smoke to frighten off the evil spirits. After the parade, the Ogoh-ogoh will be burned.

The next morning will be ‘the day of silence’. During that day people should stay indoors and turn the lights off for 24 hours starting from 6 am included tourist to respect the sacred tradition. The airport is closed for Nyepi Day. Balinese are stayed home to meditation, refocus, and liberate their minds from negative emotions.

Where: The whole island of Bali

When: March 7th, 2019 (the year 1941 of Saka calendar)

March 23rd, 2020 (the year 1942 of Saka calendar)

March 14th, 2021 (the year 1943 of Saka calendar)

March 3rd, 2022 (the year 1944 of Saka calendar)

Odalan

is a Balinese temple festival that celebrated almost every day of the year across the island. In Bali, there are more than 4.500 temples where the ceremonies take place every 210 days since the foundation of the temple, and the date is different for each temple. So, you have plenty of opportunities to attend Odalan.

The temple festival or Odalan usually lasts for three days. In this festival, you can see the Balinese have decorated the temples with flags, golden cloths, and beautiful ornament. They were dressed in white and gold and also there are vocal music performance, dance, and gamelan music. It means you can experience this event to make your stay memorable.

When and where:

Take a look at your nearby temple schedule to see when their next Odalan is taking place.

Galungan and Kuningan

Galungan is one of the essential Balinese festivals along with Nyepi day because the day is the beginning of the Pawukon year which is celebrated every 210 days. The word Galungan means victory or battle from the Ancient Javanese word. It is celebrated the creation of the universe, the triumph of Dharma over Adharma, or good against the evil.

Galungan always celebrated on Wednesday, when the Balinese make offerings, decorated their houses and temples, put on their finest clothes to visit their family and pray in the temples. And the next day, they will visit their friends or just family trip. This event will last for ten days, and will be ended with the Kuningan, which has two meanings: ‘to announce’ and ‘of yellow’. Kuningan celebration also refers to unique offerings of yellow rice.

Where: These events will be held in every region in Bali. But the greatest celebration is at Sakenan Temple on Serangan Island, Southern Denpasar.

When: Galungan celebrated every 210 days due to the Balinese calendar system. Here are the dates for the upcoming Galungan / Kuningan in Bali:

May 30th, 2018 / June 9th, 2018

December 26th, 2018 / January 5th, 2019

July 24th, 2019 / August 3rd, 2019

February 19th, 2020 / February 29th, 2020

September 16th, 2020 / September 26th, 2020

For addition, Balinese use two traditional calendar system, distinct from the Georgian Calendar that we use. That is why Balinese celebrate two new years, Saka and Pawukon. Saka comes from an Indian calendar system. Each month starts after a new moon. The second calendar is Pawukon that one year counts only 210 days.

After reading this article, you might want to miss the cultural events in Bali, right? So, what are you waiting for? Let’s pack your suitcase and make sure that you will get the experience during your visit to Bali!