With pristine sand beaches, myriad adventure activities, lush greeneries, and a galore of culture & tradition, Bali amalgamates spiritualism and hard partying into one.

Being a Hindu nation, Bali’s annual calendar is thronged with religious holidays and cultural festivals. The locals celebrate their cultural heritage through a multitude of top festivals in Bali that showcase their religious devotion, artistic talents, and deep-rooted traditions.

Bali itself envisages evangelizing the exuberance and heterogeneity of its traditions and customs. A holiday in Bali is always appealing; to witness the true essence of the island, try to be a part of the famous festivals in Bali.

This blog describes some popular festivals in Bali that attract locals and tourists.

Where to stay

Our recommendations for top hotels in Bali include,

  • The Sun Hotel & Spa Legian ($21 per night**)
  • Kuta Central Park ($23 per night**)
  • Eden Hotel Kuta Bali ($25 per night**)

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Popular festivals in Bali

1. Galungan and Kuningan Festival

The Galungan and Kuningan Festival is a significant religious event that honors the victory of Dharma (good) over Adharma (evil). It is truly one of the popular festivals in Bali that portrays its culture and heritage.

This ten-day festival is celebrated every 210 days in the Balinese calendar, with intricate penjor (decorative bamboo poles) lining the streets, symbolizing the ascent of ancestral spirits to the heavens.

Galungan and Kuningan Festival

Locals dress in traditional attire and visit temples to pray and offer food to their ancestors, creating a spiritual atmosphere that unites the community.

One of the highlights of the Galungan and Kuningan Festival is the preparation and presentation of elaborate offerings. These “canang sari” offerings are intricate arrangements of flowers, fruits, and other symbolic elements. They are meticulously crafted as expressions of devotion and gratitude to the deities.

When: February

2. Nyepi – The Day of Silence

Nyepi, also known as the Day of Silence, marks the beginning of the Balinese New Year. In a unique contrast to the island’s usual vibrancy, the entire island comes to a standstill.

Streets are empty, lights are dimmed, and residents observe silence, fasting, and introspection. The night before Nyepi, the Ogoh-Ogoh parade showcases giant papier mache effigies representing evil spirits, which are then burned to symbolize the triumph of good over evil.

On Nyepi itself, the island takes on an otherworldly serenity. The Balinese Hindus stay within their homes and compounds, refraining from lighting fires, using electricity, or engaging in entertainment.

Nyepi – The Day of Silence

The concept of seclusion extends even to the tourism industry, as the Ngurah Rai International Airport is closed, and tourists are required to remain within their accommodations.

The only people visible on the streets are traditional security personnel known as “Pecalang,” who observe the rules of silence.

When: March

Can you talk during Nyepi?

On Nyepi, speaking is generally discouraged. The island’s inhabitants, as well as visitors, are expected to observe silence throughout the day. It indicates refraining from conversations, using electronic devices, and making any loud noises.

3. Bali Arts Festival

Celebrating Bali’s rich artistic heritage, the Bali Arts Festival is a month-long extravaganza of music, dance, and craftsmanship.

Held annually from June to July, the festival brings together artists from all corners of the island to display their talents through performances, exhibitions, and workshops.

Traditional dance forms like Legong, Barong, and Kecak take centre stage, offering a captivating glimpse into Bali’s artistic soul.

Bali Arts Festival - Popular Festivals in Bali

Balinese dance is renowned for its intricate movements, graceful postures, and elaborate costumes.

During the festival, visitors can witness various traditional dance forms, each telling a unique story and reflecting different aspects of Balinese culture and mythology.

When: 2nd Saturday of June to July

4. Pagerwesi Festival

Pagerwesi is a celebration of spiritual resilience and mental strength. Observed four days after Saraswati Day, it emphasizes the importance of safeguarding oneself from spiritual threats.

The festival involves temple visits, prayers, and offerings to invoke divine protection. Balinese Hindus adorn themselves in white attire, and local communities perform various rituals to fortify their spiritual armor.

Pagerwesi, which translates to “iron fence,” symbolizes the notion of spiritual fortification and protection. The timing of Pagerwesi reflects the belief that after receiving blessings and knowledge on Saraswati Day, it is crucial to safeguard oneself against negative influences and spiritual threats.

When: 23rd May 2023 and 20th December 2023

5. Pengerupukan – The Eve of Nyepi

Pengerupukan, also known as the Eve of Nyepi, is a lively and dynamic event that contrasts with the solemnity of Nyepi.

On this day, villagers gather to perform the ogoh-ogoh parade on the streets with their intricately crafted demonic figures. The vibrant displays and the cacophony of gamelan music and firecrackers create an electrifying atmosphere, bidding farewell to malevolent forces before the island’s day of silence.

6. Saraswati Day

Saraswati Day should be on our list when discussing the top festivals in Bali. Saraswati Day is a celebration of wisdom, learning, and education dedicated to the goddess of knowledge.

Saraswati Day is observed every six months according to the Balinese Pawukon calendar. It falls on the Saturday of the Saniscara Kliwon Wuku Wariga Cycle, usually occurring in January and August Gregorian months.

In temples across the island, colorful offerings are arranged to pay homage to Saraswati. These offerings typically include various fruits, flowers, and traditional Balinese cakes.

Schools play a central role in the Saraswati Day celebration. Students and teachers dress in their finest traditional attire to attend special ceremonies held at school premises.

These ceremonies involve prayers, blessings, and reading sacred texts, reinforcing the link between education and spirituality.

When: May and December

7. Ubud Writers and Readers Festival

For literature enthusiasts, the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is one of the most-waited and popular festivals in Bali. Held in Ubud, this annual event brings together writers, thinkers, and readers worldwide to engage in discussions, workshops, and performances.

The festival creates a platform for cultural exchange and intellectual exploration, showcasing Bali’s capacity to host diverse creative minds.

Set against Bali’s lush landscapes and rich cultural heritage, the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival offers a unique blend of intellectual stimulation and creative inspiration.

The festival’s origins trace back to 2004 when it was conceived as a response to the Bali bombings. It aimed to revitalize the island’s tourism sector and restore Bali’s reputation as a hub of cultural exchange.

Since its inception, the festival has blossomed into an internationally recognized event that draws literary enthusiasts, authors, academics, and artists from all corners of the globe.

The program lineup is diverse and eclectic, encompassing various literary genres, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, journalism, and more.

Renowned authors and emerging voices share their insights, experiences, and creative processes, offering attendees a chance to delve into the minds of literary luminaries.

When: October 2023

Ticket price: Starts from $3

Who is the founder of Ubud Writer’s Festival?

Director Janet De Neefe first introduced the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in response to the 2003 Bali bombings.

8. Makepung Buffalo Races

Adding a touch of excitement and adrenaline to Bali’s festival scene is the Makepung Buffalo Races.

Originating in the regency of Jembrana, these races feature decorated wooden carts pulled by water buffaloes driven by skilled jockeys. The races infuse traditional culture with a competitive spirit, offering a unique blend of entertainment and legacy.

When: July to November

9. Bali Spirit Festival

Being one of the top festivals in Bali, the Bali Spirit Festival is an annual event that celebrates Bali’s diverse cultural and spiritual heritage.

This vibrant festival brings together people worldwide to immerse themselves in a unique blend of yoga, dance, music, and holistic healing. Participants can engage in workshops, seminars, and classes led by experienced practitioners.

Apart from workshops and classes, the Bali Spirit Festival hosts vibrant musical performances where artists showcase their talents.

These concerts feature a mix of genres, including world music, traditional Balinese music, and contemporary sounds, creating an enchanting musical experience for everyone.

When: May

10. Chinese New Year

The most obvious and surprising Balinese festival embarks the staunch Chinese historical knots, Chinese New Year begets a vivacious festive aura.

The main hub of these celebrations is usually in areas with a significant Chinese population, such as Kuta and Denpasar.

During the Chinese New Year period, the streets and buildings are adorned with red lanterns, banners, and other decorative elements. The color red is particularly symbolic in Chinese culture, as it is believed to bring luck and ward off evil spirits.

One of the most iconic customs associated with Chinese New Year is the lion and dragon dance. Colorful lion and dragon costumes are paraded through the streets, accompanied by the rhythmic beat of drums and cymbals.

These performances are not only captivating to watch but also hold cultural significance, as they are believed to bring prosperity and good fortune for the upcoming year.

When: February

11. Bali Blues Festival

The Bali Blues Festival is an annual music event celebrating the rich heritage of blues music in the heart of Bali.

This festival draws together local and international blues musicians and music enthusiasts for a soulful and captivating musical experience. The festival offers established and emerging blues artists a platform to showcase their talents.

From smoky vocals to intricate guitar solos, the festival’s lineup reflects the diversity of blues music, encompassing various subgenres like Delta blues, Chicago blues, and contemporary interpretations.

When: July

12. Bali Kite Festival

Along the shore of Padanggalak, with the beginning of the breezy season, the Balinese sky is shrouded with kites of all structures, shapes and sizes, from easy to three-layered figures of divine beings, goddesses, creatures and so on.

A previous occasional agrarian celebration, The Bali Kite Celebration, has now become a serious game among ‘Banjar.

The spirit of teamwork and community is central to the Bali Kite Festival. Families and friends gather to build kites, design intricate patterns, and practice flying techniques.

When: July and August

13. Soundrenaline

Soundrenaline is the utmost treat for all music buffs looking for something unique and special.

Known for its energetic atmosphere and impressive performances, this festival has become a prominent fixture in Bali’s music scene.

The Soundrenaline Festival typically spans several days, featuring back-to-back performances from an eclectic mix of artists. The festival showcases a wide range of musical genres, including rock, pop, electronic, indie, and more, catering to a diverse audience with different musical preferences.

When: September 2023

Conclusion

From religious ceremonies that honor ancestors and deities to vibrant events that showcase creativity, Bali’s festivals are a true reflection of the island’s soul and a memorable experience for all who participate.

Don’t forget to witness these 13 top festivals in Bali on your next trip.

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FAQs

Which festivals in Bali is worth seeing during June-July month?

When planning to visit Bali during June/July, you may witness festivals like Bali Arts Festival and Bali Blues Festival.

Which festivals include music concerts?

Bali Arts, Bali Blues and Soundrenaline are prime festivals that entertain audiences with live music and concerts.

What is the main festival of Bali?

Galungan is the main festival in the Balinese calendar that used to be celebrated every 210 days to commemorate the victory of good over evil. This 10-day festival is observed with rituals and festivities.

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