Bali’s Biggest Celebrations


Penjor – Question Marks Against the Sky

Bali's Biggest Celebrations | Sep 03, 2020

Like most storied places around the world, much of today’s Bali is a modern variation on the romanticised images of yesterday. But during Galungan, the quintessential Balinese traditional ceremony, Bali’s roads are arched with enchanting reminders of its ancient past. These arches, made of curved and decorated bamboo poles, are penjor. The archetypal penjor are […]

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Penampahan Galungan: Preparations and Slaughters

Bali's Biggest Celebrations | Aug 03, 2020

It starts suddenly in the middle of the night, while people are sound asleep. It sounds like the wailing of a milk-lusting baby. But the wailing soon dies out into a whine of despair and a last shriek of death. And, as the first light of dawn is rising on the horizon, other similar squealling […]

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Tumpek Krulut : A Balinese Valentine

Bali's Biggest Celebrations | Feb 12, 2020

As February waltzes in, sweethearts around the world swing in full pursuit of flowers, chocolates and vows to exchange in the name of love. In Balinese culture, affection is instead shared through a day of prayers and ballads of music. Valentine’s Day is synonymous with romance and indulgence; and traditionally recognised as a holiday inspired […]

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Hari Raya Galungan: When Good Triumphs Over Evil

Bali's Biggest Celebrations | Jan 01, 2020

Galungan is one of the most important ceremonies on the Balinese calendar. The exact dates of this auspicious day are calculated through the 210-day Balinese calendar, where the Galungan period will last 10 days.  You’ll know when Galungan is coming a few days, or even weeks before it actually arrives as the whole island is […]

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Melaspas : Bali’s House Blessing Ceremony

Bali's Biggest Celebrations | Oct 04, 2019

It seems there is a ceremony for everything in Bali! Another ceremony you’ll find on the Island of the Gods is a house blessing ceremony, known locally as Melaspas. This involves a priest, prayers and offerings that will cleanse every corner of the house and its compound. The Melaspas ceremony is mandatory before moving into […]

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Metatah : A Balinese Teeth Filing (Done with Style)

Bali's Biggest Celebrations | Oct 09, 2018

Its not every day that some well placed person in Ubud society organises a huge metatah or tooth filing ceremony for her greater family, it was an affair to remember. Without mentioning any names, the event took place at the popular Honeymoon Guest House where twenty two children or young adults had their front teeth filed […]

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Tumpek Wayang: The Lord of Puppets Celebrated

Bali's Biggest Celebrations | Jul 13, 2017

The Lord of Puppeteers, Sanghyang Iswara, is honoured when the Balinese Hindus celebrate Tumpek Wayang Day. On this day, puppeteers (Dalang) throughout the island will present offerings to their shadow puppets (wayang kulit) with the intention of honouring the Lord Iswara. The puppets are taken out from their cases to be blessed by their owners and […]

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Hari Raya Kuningan: The Spirits Return to Heaven

Bali's Biggest Celebrations | Jul 01, 2017

10 Days after the Galungan ceremonies in Bali, Hari Raya Kuningan takes place. It marks the end of the full Galungan festival. In the Balinese calendar, Kuningan is in fact the third ‘tumpek’ ceremony of the Balinese year, which takes place on the Saturday of the 12th week of the Pakuwon cycle; it should in fact […]

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Explaining Nyepi Day of Silence and the Çaka Calendar

Bali's Biggest Celebrations | Mar 28, 2017

How do Westerners open the New Year? With revelry. How do the Balinese open their own New Year. With a full day of silence, called Nyepi. But what is Nyepi exactly? Bali is indeed a “different” place, with different rules, people and beliefs and we ĺare fortunate to have our historian and anthropologist Jean Couteau to […]

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A Balinese Wedding

Bali's Biggest Celebrations | Feb 01, 2017

Getting married, for a Balinese, means a huge life-changing event that begins with a big celebration that can take days. A wedding in Balinese tradition doesn’t only involve love between the couple, but it means making a relationship to the whole extended family as well as the institution that is built based on tradition and […]

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