One basic principle of
Hindu belief is that the universe is structured - things do not
happen randomly and it is essential that a balance must be
maintained between order and disorder. Spirits are everywhere and
ultimately control nature and as such these spirits must be
worshipped regularly in order to maintain the balance. Rituals and
festivals are the way the Balinese maintain this order. These
festivals have great meaning and are the part of the essence of
There are other
festivals as well, instituted by the government or other
organizations to maintain and preserve certain cultural aspects of
Balinese life. The best example of this is the Bali Art Festival - held every year from
mid-June through mid-July. If you are planning to visit Bali at
about this time it is worth the extra effort to be in Bali on
opening day. Never will you have an better opportunity to see
Bali's glorious culture. Even if you are in Singapore or other
part of the region it is well worth the trip. Below is a brief
overview of some of Bali's more important holidays.
GALUNGAN : This is the most important Balinese holiday and symbolizes the
victory of virtue (Dharma) over Evil (Adharma). The holiday is
characterized by putting " Penjor " (tall Bamboo poles laboriously
decorated with woven coconut leaves, cakes and flowers), on the
right side of every house entrance. It is important for the
Balinese to visit all their family temples on this day which
sometimes requires a lot of driving around.
KUNINGAN : This
holiday takes place ten days after Galungan, bringing the Balinese
New Year holiday period to a close. Ceremonies are held for
NYEPI : Every
society in the world should have the Nyepi holiday. This holiday
is the Balinese New Year called Icaka New Year. It is a day of
total silence throughout the island. No activity is whatsoever is
allowed, no traffic at all on the roads, no fire may be lit, use
of electricity is banned (except in the tourist hotels).
Purification and sacrificial rites are held the day before -
culminating at night with Ogoh-Ogoh dancing through the villages.
The Ogoh-Ogoh are large demon images carried about the villages
joined by all the men trying to make as much noise as possible.
The idea is to wake up all the evil spirits on Bali then on Nyepi
when the spirits return, Bali is absolutely quiet and the spirits,
not able to find anyone, leave the island for good.
Please be advised that this page is updated monthly for
the succeeding two months ie. for events in June please check back