Festivals in Bali
Festivals are an important feature of Balinese life. In general
Temple festivals occur regularly on fixed dates according to the
Balinese Calendar. That said, it is important to know that the Balinese
calendar is only 210 days and as such the dates of these festivals
rotate throughout the Roman calendar year.
As well there are annual cycle and every six month celebrations
of holidays, life-cycle ceremonies of a Balinese from the time a
child is conceived inside the mothers womb and continuing
in stages up until the most important of the Balinese rituals -
cremation after death.
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 Balinese culture.
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
SIWA RATRI: Balinese Siwaratri
on the dark moon of the seventh month based on the Balinese lunar
calendar system, Balinese will celebrate the Siwaratri or the Night
of Siwa. This holy day is devoted to God Siwa, the destroyer. Balinese
believes that on this day, God Siwa, the destroyer meditate for
the welfare of the world, and the God Siwa will bestow a pardon
for all sin to someone if he accompany the God Siwa in his meditation
by observing some self restriction and meditate on the night of
GALUNGAN : Bali's most important
festival is the Galungan festival. It is a feast and festival which
is held throughout the whole island and occurs every 210 days on
Budha Kliwon Dungulan. It is believed that during this ten day period
all Balinese gods will descend to earth for the festivities. Barongs
prance from temple to temple and village to village in celebration
of Galungan with the gods. Galungan to the Balinese is the most
important holiday period as it symbolizes the victory of Dharma,
or virtue, upon Adharma, or all that is evil. The festivities are
made extra special by the fitting of 'penjor' (brightly decorated
very tall bamboo poles with woven young coconut leaves, cakes, fruits
and flowers) on the right side of the entrance to every house which
arch over roads looking like the top of a gothic cathedral.
KUNINGAN : Kuningan brings the
Balinese New Year holiday period to a close with ceremonies held
to honour ancestral spirits.
TUMPEK KRULUT: Tumpek Krulut
is dedicated for all musical instruments, mask, and other tool for
art performances that are used in the numerous religious ceremonies
in Bali. The Tumpek Krulut takes its name from the name of week
of its occasion. It is celebrated every 210 days, in the 17th week
of Balinese Pawukon cycle (a cycle consist of 30 weeks).
On this special day, offerings are given to pay homage to the musical
instruments, masks, and dance costumes. The instruments and other
paraphernalia are cleaned, decorated with young coconut leaf offerings,
given a special set of offering and sprinkled with holy water. The
members of the group that use the instruments, costumes and masks,
pray together and ask a blessing from the God.
NYEPI : Every society in the
world should have the Nyepi holiday. This holiday is the Balinese
New Year called Içaka 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
TUMPEK LANDEP: The historical
roots of Tumpek Landep trace to rites that for the blessing and
sharpening of weapons of conflict . Over the generations the meaning
was expanded to include any tool or instrument made of metal eventually
including bicycles, motorcycles and cars.
Tumpek Landep is, in fact, a day set aside for sharpening all the
"weapons of our lives." Tumpek Landep is a day for evaluation
and retrospection on how well we have mastered that knowledge for
the benefit of the world. Accordingly, Tumpek Landep seeks to honor
human skills and ingenuity and the tools and technology used in
practicing those skills.
Tumpek Landep is the day devoted to Sang Hyang Pasupati, the lord
of all metal implements, when blessing ceremony is given to heirlooms
weapons and other metal tools (including cars and other vehicles)
for magical power and proper function, held at every family compound,
especially at smiths and garages.
SARASWATI: The day devoted to
Sanghyang Aji Saraswati, Goddes symbolizing knowledges and arts
and when blessing ceremony is given to holy scriptures, literatures
of sciences and arts held at every family compound.
PAGARWESI: The Balinese Hindus
will celebrate a very special day devoted to Hyang Pramesti Guru
and Hyang Pitara (ancestors), which is meant to ask for protection
and prosperity. It is celebrated at every family temple and holy
place throughout Bali.
Pagerwesi day has a close relationship within Saraswati day. It
falls 4 days after Saraswati day and there is continuous meaning
in between. After people received knowledge on Saraswati day, they
must remind that the knowledge is transferred through guru or teacher
and Pagerwesi is the day to show our respect to the teacher and
the main guru (God or Siva).
Please be advised that this page is updated
monthly for the succeeding two months ie. for events in November
please check back in October