Top Festivals & Events in Bali
Discover Bali’s mysterious and exciting cultural festivals, including this selection of the most important festivals and events in Bali:
Pager Wesi (March & September 2010) –
Watch lavish ceremonies throughout Bali during Pager Wesi, held twice a year across Bali to celebrate Sang Yang (the creator of the universe), with offerings to the Supreme God to stave off evil spirits. Look out for (but don't tread on) offerings laid on little woven baskets on every porch.
Hari Raya Nyepi (16 March 2010) – The
Nyepi Ceremony is a Hindu Day of Silence, which welcomes the beginning of the Hindu New Year in the Balinese Saka calendar.
The silent vigil is believed to fool the spirits and is a celebration observed with total silence throughout Bali. (Even Bali's airport is closed on Nyepi.)
On this special day, Hindus stay at home, do not cook or engage in any activity; there is no traffic at all on the roads and tourists are not allowed to leave hotels.
On the previous evening, much noise is made to scare away the evil spirits. Purification and sacrificial rites are held on the day prior to Nyepi in order to exorcise evil spirits from every corner of Bali.
Galungan Ceremony (12 May & 8 Dec 2010) – Bali's most important festival is held twice yearly symbolizing the victory of virtue (Dharma) over evil (Adharma). During this auspicious period, it is thought that all the Balinese gods descend to earth for the festivities, which centre on the mysterious Barong dance.
Watch Barong dancers prance from temple to temple giving spontaneous performances in celebration. Galgugan culminates with Kuningan, a day of prayer when offerings are given at temples to bid farewell to celestial spirits and ancestors.
Kuningan Ceremony (22 May & 10 Dec 2010) – Yellow rice is offered and temples are beautified to bade farewell to the gods during this ten day event that signifies the end of the new year holiday.
Bali Spirit Festival (31 March to 4 April) Watch classical Hatha Yoga, traditional dance and musical performances at this 5-day event held in the grounds of the Bali Purnati Center for arts located in Batuan near Ubud.
Bali Arts Festival (12 June to 10 July 2010) – Watch some of the most accomplished musicians and dancers perform at one of Bali’s most important cultural event of the year. The Bali Arts Festival, Pesta Kesenian Bali, features a spectacular opening procession including giant ogoh-ogoh dolls, which herald the start of the festival. See Balinese music and dance ensembles wearing traditional costume.
Negara Bull Races (July to October) – Watch bulls decorated with garlands and coupled to chariots are coaxed by jockeys race around a course in the small town of Perancak, near Negara in west Bali This entertaining event, which marks the end of the rice harvesting season is staged every Sunday between July and October.
Independence Day (17 August 2010) – Watch processions, traditional music and dancing during celebrations to mark Independence Day.