Bali is a land of culture and festivities. Everyday, there’s always a new reason to celebrate something, to learn something new or to meet new people. That is why, we compile this list for you, so you won’t miss the big annual festivals, or if you’re not from here, you can plan your trip accordingly. Some of these events are still the planning stage, so we’ll make sure to always update this article for new information.
1. BALI SPIRIT FESTIVAL
When: 19-26 March 2017
Taking place on March 19th to March 26th 2017 and celebrating its 10th anniversary, Bali Spirit Festival is now one of the longest yoga festival in the world. Bali Spirit Festival is a global celebration of Yoga, Dance and World Music offering rejuvenation and inspiration to all participants and providing over 200 daily classes in yoga, meditation, healing, dance and music along with seminars focusing on health, spirituality and personal development. The new extended program includes five days of group wellness classes, an extra community day and seven nights of music program.
There’s also interactive workshops & seminars, a lively community market & healing center, a children’s activity zone, yoga classes and vibrant night time programs of live Bhakti and world music concerts, set among the picturesque rice-fields of Ubud, Bali. In addition to the main program the festival will also offer a range of extra Special Events at stunning venues around Ubud. The Bali Spirit Festival embodies the core mantra of Balinese Hinduism – Tri Hita Karana – to live in harmony with our spiritual, social, and natural environments.
When: 28-29 March 2017
There’s no other celebration in the world that is so big and massive that they have to close down the airport for 24 hours. Nyepi is the celebration of Saka New Year, also known as Bali day of silence. The Nyepi preparation starts weeks before, as each banjar or district build their own “monster” – papier-mâché effigies called ogoh-ogoh. Then, three days before Nyepi, everybody perform the Melasti pilgrimages. Pilgrims from various village temples all over Bali convey heirlooms on long walks towards the coastlines where elaborate purification ceremonies take place. It is one of the best times to capture on camera the iconic Balinese processions in motion, as parasols, banners and small effigies offer a cultural spectacle.
The Ogoh-ogoh parade takes place on the Saka New Year’s Eve. Make sure you head to the city centers around 7pm to see lines of ogoh-ogoh being paraded in the streets. The next day, starting from 6am till 6am the next day the Silent Day begins. There are four prohibitions: no fire, no travel, no activity and no entertainment. Use this moment to reflect, to relax and of course to see the beautiful sky as the whole island is in total darkness, making the stars extra bright that special night.
3. GALUNGAN / KUNINGAN
When: 5 – 15 April 2017
It’s the ultimate story: the fight between good and evil. The Balinese celebrates Galungan on a Wednesday, it will last for 10 days and come to an end with the Kuningan celebration. Galungan takes place in the familial temples where, according to the Balinese, the gods come down to earth and the ancestors’ souls pay a visit to their family.
The celebration’s preparations start on the previous Monday, with the preparation of the cakes that will be used as offerings. On the Tuesday, men prepare the festive dinner (they kill pigs, to turn them into kebabs and blood sausages) and women prepare the offerings. Men also make some penjor, finely decorated bamboo trunks with corn cobs, plaited palm leaves, yellow or white fabric and young coconut shoots, which they position on the side of the roads and in front of each house. Festivities come to an end with Kuningan, which celebrates purification. On that same day, the ancestors’ souls are leaving their family’s temple. Make sure to catch a glimpse of Bali on these days because the road looks beautiful with the penjors lining up the street.
4. UBUD FOOD FESTIVAL
When: 12-14 May 2017
From 12–14 May, the UFF17’s diverse program of cooking demonstrations, workshops, special events, free forum sessions, markets, food tours and more will be infused with the theme ‘Every flavor is a story’. “The theme celebrates Indonesia’s culinary heritage, in which every ingredient, recipe and culinary tradition tells a story of the archipelago’s history, geography and diverse cultures,” said UFF Founder and Director Janet DeNeefe. “It also reflects on the journey from producer to plate; from forging relationships with local growers to fostering awareness of broader ecological and industry trends which are shaping Indonesia’s – and the world’s – culinary landscape.”
From the Kitchen Stage and – in a new addition to the program – a free cooking demonstration series conducted in Bahasa Indonesia, Indonesian culinary icons and international chefs will share not just recipes, but the stories behind them. Across the Festival’s three-day program, members of the culinary industry and food lovers alike will unpack flavors, traditions and trends to deepen their understanding of not just what food tells us – but of the stories we tell through food.
When: May 2017 (Date TBC)
TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a nonproﬁt organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. This 2017 will mark TEDxUbud’s 6th year, so we can expect something new and special. Each year TEDxUbud features another amazing lineup of Indonesian and international entrepreneurs, designers, storytellers, and performers sharing their ideas with a curated audience of 300. At TEDx events, audience members are just as important as who is on the stage. TEDxUbud hopes that from this day new relationships and initiatives will be born, contributing to the already incredible world of Indonesian innovations and ideas worth spreading.