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Festivals to Celebrate in Bali


Nyepi Festival Bali

Let’s face the fact- we all enjoy good festival, delicious food, and vibrant culture! And Bali is a destination that promises to help you with all. The Balinese people always have something to celebrate whatever the occasion, and if you’re backpacking to Bali it’s more than likely that you’ll have the opportunity to experience a religious festival while you’re there. Unlike most of Indonesia which is Muslim, the majority of Bali’s population follows Balinese Hinduism formed from a combination of local beliefs and Hindu influences from mainland Southeast Asia. On your visit to Bali, if you want to experience one of the island’s great celebrations, then the following list of festivals in Bali will help you for sure:

Nyepi Festival:

According to the Balinese Saka calendar, the Nyepi festival is observed as the Hindu New Year or Hindu Day of Silence. The day starts with cleaning the villages and preparing delicious cuisines. No sooner than the night approaches, people scream on top of their voices; according to Balinese rituals, they make this noise to scare the devils and evil spirits. On this day, Hindu Balinese abstain from all worldly pleasures and physical activities for the next 24 hours. They prefer spending the time performing prayers or meditating at the merajan or house shrine.

Galungan

Galungan is usually celebrated to show respect to Ida Sang Hyang Widi (the creator of the Universe) and the released spirits of their ancestors. The festival represents the triumph of good over evil. On this auspicious day, Balinese show their gratefulness to the sainted ancestors and creator. Galungan is a series of celebrations which starts with Sugihan Jawa and ends with Kuningan Day. On this festival, the locals start their day by making several offerings, decorating their homes and temples as well as arranging for social get-togethers.

Odalan:

This is a Hindu ceremony organized for celebrating the anniversary of the Bali temples. As per their traditional calendar, the festival is celebrated after an interval of 6 months or 210 days. It is believed that spirits come down from heaven on this festival and are entertained with cock fights, dances, cock fights, food as well as other practices.

Melasti:

According to the Balinese calendar, this festival falls on the last day of the lunar year. The day starts with immense enthusiasm amongst the locals with sounds of drums and gamelan all around. You’ll also find the people dressed in their best apparels and making their way to the sacred springs and ocean to wash holy statues and offer flowers and fruits.

photo from Wikimedia commons

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2 Responses to Festivals to Celebrate in Bali

  1. Fabiana October 23, 2014 at 1:33 am #

    These all sound great, but none was happening when i was there 🙁

  2. James Watson February 19, 2015 at 8:50 am #

    Thanks for this great resource on Bali. We’re excited to visit this corner of Indonesia in a week and share experiences of our own. A few more celebrations that I found (for March 2015 anyway) are Tumpek Kandang, Melasti Pilgrimages, Pengrupukan, and Nyepi Day of Silence. There also seems to be a lot going on around Saka.
    #Onward

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