An island of Gods, an island of thousand temples, an island of paradise…
Bali has many kinds of names and for many years Bali is known for their solid culture, where ancient beliefs blend with contemporary living.
The Balinese people live by following the rhythm of numerous ceremonies or festivities, with many events celebrating the rich heritage of the Balinese Culture. One of the best ways to experience the Island of Gods is to witness such events.
Here, we’re going to mark the date so that you guys could explore the uniqueness culture of Bali which makes it so special.
These are the four big cultural events in Bali.
The first is Odalan. It is a celebration for the coming of Gods in every temple of Balinese family, and other public temple. It takes place every 210 days since the foundation of the temple (based on Pawukon, the traditional Balinese Calendar).
So, the date for each temple is different. There are more than 20.000 temples in Bali, so you have many chances to attend this ceremony.
On this day, the locals will wear their traditional clothes proudly. The women will bring the offerings to the temple, and the whole member of family will do the praying together. The holy water then will be sprayed, along with blessed rice, to be putted on the throat and forehead.
The biggest Odalan is at Besakih, the biggest temple in Bali. You will see many people going to pray there and the view is also beautiful, because the temple is right at the feet of Mount Agung. Mark your calendar at March 20th to see the ceremony!
Second is Galungan and Kuningan, where it celebrated by all Balinese. This ceremony starts with Galungan Day and ended with Kuningan Day, 10 days after Galungan. Galungan celebrates the victory of Dharma (the good) against Adharma (the evil).
Every Balinese people will do the prayer together with their family as a symbol of gratitude for Gods come down to earth and for their ancestors as well. The women will make an offering, while the men make a penjor, a decorated bamboo trunk with corn cobs, plaited palm leaves, yellow or white fabric and young coconut shoots. They will put it on the side of the road in front of their house.
This is like an Independence Day in Indonesia, where the people put their Red-White Flag in front of their houses. And when it comes to Galungan day, the Balinese men will prepare the festive dinner, which is the favourite suckling pig! Galungan and Kuningan Day is celebrated every six months, this year Galungan will be at July 24th, while Kuningan is at August 3rd.
Third one is the most popular one, Nyepi Day. The Day of Silence, where once in a year, it is a special day for Bali to be silent in 24 hours. Effectively from 6 AM until 6 AM in the next day, this island is resting, healing, and recharging. All shops will close, including the airport. Except the hospital for emergency case.
Nyepi has become a national holiday, and a New Year for the Hindu in Indonesia. One day before Nyepi, there is Ogoh-ogoh festival, a statue made of bamboo, usually have the shape of a monsters.
It symbolizes the evil spirits surround us which we must avoid. The Balinese Hindu will do the four tasks called Catur Brata, which consist of Amati Geni (no lights or fire), Amati Lelanguan (no amusement), Amati Lelungan (no travel), and Amati Karya (no heavy work). Nyepi is meant to be the day of self-introspection.
In 2019, Nyepi will be celebrate on March 7th, while the Ogoh-ogoh festival is a day before, March 6th. You should not miss this event!
Next, the fourth is Omed-omedan. Often called as the Festival of Smooches, it is an annual celebration of love and good fortune.
Of all the events and festivals in Bali, this should be the most unique! The morning after the Day of Silence, the people in village Sesetan, Denpasar, especially young people which are mostly single between the ages of 17 and 30 will gather in the centre of village. They will be coupled and pushed together into kisses, while the spectator will throw buckets of water over them. There will be also a street food markets and colourful parades in welcoming the new year. So, don’t forget to mark your calendar at March 8th to witness this unique ceremony!
And that’s it, folks! These are the events that you guys should not miss!
If you can, choose your traveling dates considering one or more fascinating celebrations throughout the year. You won’t regret it!