It is always a nice idea to know the major holidays and festivals in Bali. If for no other reason than to plan your trip around them. Some may be interested in visiting a particular area during a festivals, but other may want to know that dates of these events so that they can avoid them.
What ever you reason is for wanting to know about festivals and holidays in Bali is, you came to the right place. Below is a list of all the major holidays and festivals that take place in Bali. Of course, the size of the event and how much it might impact your travel vary froim event to event and city to city.
NOTE: Muslim events tend to change dates because the Muslim Calendar is 10 to 11 days shorter than the Roman Calendar. So these dates are approximate.
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- New Year’s Festival – Dec. 31 – Jan. 1: This one starts on December 31 and often that is the busy day. There are many festivals in the street and carnivals that take place and people buy and use paper trumpets. The actual day is usually less festive because people are resting from the party the night before.
- Mawlid – Celebrates the birth of the prophet Mohammed. Street Processions are held and food and charity is given.
- Icaka New Year – also known as Nyepi, usually is celebrated during the Spring Equinox. It is important that no one leave their homes during this day. Travel, work and recreational activies are forbidden, it’s believed that evil spirits believe the island to be deserted on that day and that forces them to leave.
- Good Friday – Christians tend to celebrate this holiday right on the Friday before Easter. This is celebrating the anniversary of the Crucifiying of Jesus Christ.
- Easter – Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, this festival is held on the first Sunday following the first full moon of Spring. Christians in Bali generally celebrate this.
- Kartini Day – April 21: this holiday marks the birth of Raden Ajeng Kartini, who helped with raise awareness of women’s rights in Bali. She also formed the Balinese women’s rights movement.
- Hari Raya Waisak – Celebrates the birth of Buddha. Date will vary because of the Buddhist calendar. Buddhists will undertake to lead an honorable life.
- Bali Art Festival – A month-long celebration beginning in the middle of June. Offerings of music, dancing and handicrafted exhibitions are presented daily. Goes for 30 days and a great way to experience Bali’s culture.
- Kite Festival – Where hundreds of kites can adorn the sky of Bali. It’s considered a religious festival to suggest to the Hindu Gods to create plenty of crops and harvests for the year. A gamelan orchestra will play music during this festival.
- Negara Bull Races – (can take place from July through October): This is a competition where bulls in pairs race against each other. The competition is judged on speed and style.
- Indonesian Independence Day – August 17: Celebrating Indonesia’s Independence from the Dutch and Japanese. Most businesses will be closed, and many flags and lights will adorn businesses on this day. The Flag Hoisting at the National Palace is the biggest event of the day.
- Nusa Dua Festival – A nine-day festival celebrating Bali’s culture. Events include beach football, food and drink events and a bazaar.
- Idul Fitri (end of Ramadan) – Holy day in Muslim Culture. Muslims offer about 2Kg of foodstuffs known as Zakat al-fitr.
- Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) – Celebrated by Muslim Culture. a sacrifice is made and shared with peasants, relatives and neighbors.
- Christmas Day – Dec. 25: Celebrated by Christians. Holiest day of the year.
Other Holidays and Festivals
Since Bali calendars are only 210 days, some holidays vary greatly by date. Here are some that will appear at different times throughout the year:
- Galungan – March 18, 2009 and October 14, 2009 — celebration of the victory of Virtue (Dharma) over Evil (Adharma) — Bali people are dressed in their finest clothes and decorate their doorways with young coconut leaves, cakes, flowers and fruit on the right side of the doorjamb.
- Kuningan – March 28, 2009 and October 24, 2009 — End of Celebration Galungan, 10 days after it begins. A special ritual is held for the ancestral spirits.
- Saraswati – August 1, 2009 and February 27, 2010 — Religious holiday devoted to the Goddess Dewi Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge, Art and Literature. Books and manuscripts are blessed and offerings are made for them.
- Pagerwesi – August 5, 2009 and March 1, 2010 — meaning “iron fence”. Prayers and rituals are performed to prepare Bali’s people, both mentally and spiritually for Galungan.