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Bali Festivals

Bali Festivals

Culture, Heritage, Mythology, History and Balinese Life all combined make for a fascinating place to visit and breathe in. This tiny island is a bastion of belief and religious practice, which echoes in all parts of life on the island. From taking offerings to religious shrines to the larger and more breathtaking festivals, this article will spread some light on the events that you too can see and feel all parts of Balinese life manifest.

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Bali Spirit Festival

(South of Ubud – late March)

www.balispiritfestival.com

 

This festival has humble roots in spreading the love for yoga, music and dance. Yet through these beginnings a large and expansive event has taken place. There are large sponsors of the events and it is very well covered in the media. The wonderful thing about it is that no matter how much or how little knowledge you have of yoga, music or dance you will find something for you here. It is extremely well organized and draws leaders and masters who are able to share their passion.

 

Usaba Sambah Festival

(Tenganan Pegringsingan – 5th Month of the Tenganan Calendar / June)

 

This festival is held in the town that is said to be ancestral home of the Balinese people. This area of Bali has its own distinct culture and heritage, which this festival recognizes and celebrates. For the spectator one of the most interesting and unusual spectacles to witness is the Maling-malingan, young man battle each other with thorny pandanus leaves for weapons. There are mixed beliefs as to what this battle represents, one belief is that it is a staging of fights between thieves, the other belief that it is to prepare young men for battle.

 

Bali Arts Festival

(Across Bali yet mainly in Denpasar – Mid June to Mid July)

www.baliartsfestival.com

 

The Best of Bali, simple as that. If you are looking to sample all that Bali has to offer then this is the time to do it. There are many little side events going on around the Bali but it is all brought together for the main event, which is at the Taman Wedhi Budaya arts center. At this wonderful 6000 seat amphitheater villages come together to compete for glory. You will witness great performances mixed with a warm and family orientated atmosphere.  There are also many other events that are fun for the whole family, such as the Bali Kite Festival in Padang Galak, Sanur, where kites up to 5 x 11 meters compete in the sizes above for supremacy.

 

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Galungan

(Early to mid July)

 

The eternal fight of Virtue (Dharma) over Evil (Adharma), these opposing elements have been at war for millennia but the Balinese people have found the answer before us all, Virtue wins. Galungan is the festival to recognize and celebrate this amazing victory. There are 10 days of merriment on the streets of Bali highlighted by local culture and a sense of great joy. This is what makes it truly special is that it is not just a hollow parade, it is a celebration that local people feel and experience with pure passion. You will see dancing dragons on the streets, doorways decorated to welcome guests, temples are the focal point of prayers and offerings and it reaches its heights on the 10thday, Kuningan, gifts of food are exchanged and smiles are plentiful. It is said that the Hindu supreme god, Sanghyang Widi also comes to earth to join the celebrations.

 

Makepung Bull Races

(Jembrana – Sundays July & October)

 

How would you celebrate a god harvest? Of course with a bull race with a collection of your best friends, well this what the people of Negara do and why not indeed. It is a visual feast as the amazingly decorated bulls and chariots come charging down the racetrack at speeds that you honestly can not believe. The jockeys have dedicated months of practice for this race and the atmosphere is competitive and electric. Before and after the main event you can enjoy great food and a fair feel as stories of the racing are shared between locals.

 

Nusa Dua Festival

(Nusa Dua – October)

 

This event come from a high level of demand and always wanting to please the Balinese people have organized this additional festival for tourists. It is a wonderful display of culture and music. Bring the whole family as it is 100% free and there are plenty of things to see and enjoy. There are well over 1000 participants dressed beautifully in traditional Balinese clothing and moving to the haunting and deep tone of the gamelan orchestras.

 

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Sanur Village Festival

(Sanur – Mid to Late November)

 

In order to inject fresh energy with a hint of traditional life, Sanur holds a 4-day event that has something for everyone. It is very well organized and promises to continue to grow in popularity. You can enjoy cultural performances, street stalls selling all your souvenir needs, live jazz, flora and fauna exhibitions, water sports and great food that keeps you fully charged to do all the other activities available.

 

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival

(Ubud – October)

www.ubudwritersfestival.com

 

Where on this world would you like to sit down read a book, discuss, analyses, meet people with similar passions and gain inspiration for your literary masterpiece? Bali, of course. In recent years the event has attracted well over 15,000 participants and continues to grow in fame and prestige.  This event brings together a wide and diverse spectrum of individuals who shape and develop how we will enjoy the next great legendary novel.

 

Balinale International Film Festival

(Across Bali – Mid October)

www.balinale.com

 

This low-key relatively unknown event has leaped and jumped into the public eye as more and more huge names in the industry are becoming involved in Balinale. You can see what is coming up in the future of the movie world and even have your say in what you think you will like to see being produced.

 

Bali has been known for its serene beauty and sleepy feel yet the Bali of today is holding on to its traditions and culture and blending it with progress and dynamic development. The events that will happen in the future will no doubt surpass what are available today.