12 Top Festivals & Events in Bali, Indonesia
Bali is among the most famous places in Indonesia. Bali is known for its natural beauty, fascinating rice terraces, a rich culture, arts, festivals, dance and yoga. Numerous people travel to Bali from all over the world to enjoy and participate in the unique events and festivals held throughout the year in Bali. These events are permanent fixtures in the lives of people in Bali and they are full of pomp and colour due to the rich culture and traditions of the Balinese.
A visitor will likely come across an event or festival while in Bali. Luckily, the Balinese people are friendly and ready to mingle with visitors. Below are some of the significant and top festivals and events in Bali.
Major Festivals & Events in Bali
The Bali Art Festival was started in 1965 and runs from mid-June (13th) through mid-July (11th). The festival is held at Renon Square in Denpasar and features Balinese performers and visitors from around the world. The month-long event celebrates Bali’s glorious culture through cultural parades, a handicraft exhibition, interactive seminars and amazing stage performances. If you intend to visit Bali, make sure your trip coincides with this amazing event.
flickr/Farley Roland Endeman
Pager Wesi festival is held annually in November throughout Bali to celebrate the creator of the Universe (Sang Yang). During the festival, the Balinese make offerings to God to protect them, their souls and spirituality from destructive influences. This festival marks the end of a series of religious celebrations that show the spiritual nature of the Balinese people.
During the Bali Kite Festival, hundreds of gigantic traditional kites in a myriad of contemporary designs and forms dot the tranquil blue skies of Padang near Sanur Beach. This event treats foreign visitors to yet another side of Bali’s unique culture. The Bali Kite Festival takes place during the start of the windy season, somewhere between 10th and 13th July. The festival is open to everyone including adults, children, spectators, participants as well as international kite fliers and visitors.
As the name suggests, the Sanur Village Festival is held at the small coastal village of Sanur east of Denpasar. The five-day event is held between 12th and 16th August and is characterised by merry music, amazing performances, lively beach games and traditional Bali cuisines. The festival is held along the coastal stretch between Sindu to Sanur. The organizers put in a lot of communal efforts to a make this annual festival bigger and livelier. Several water sports activities are held during the festival.
Galungan is a religious festival held in July to celebrate the legendary battle of virtue (Dharma) versus evil (Adharma). The festival also celebrates the spread of Hinduism in Bali. During the festival, Barong dancers move from temple to temple giving fascinating performances in celebration. The festival ends with the Kuningan, a day of offering and prayers at village temples and family shrines. During this significant annual event, locals visit friends, neighbours and family and indulge in heavy feasting.
Held between 24th and 28th August each year, Bali Fashion Week shows the potential of Balinese fashion. The event attracts professional fashion designers and fashion enthusiasts from across the globe. Participating designers showcase their unique designs as the festival culminates to a joyous street carnival. This carnival attracts a wide range of local fashion designers, fashion brands, fashion lovers, fashion students and retailers.
The Nusa Dua Fiesta is an annual event that started in 1997. The event is held between 1st and 5th September to celebrate sports, arts, music and culture. During the festival, the peninsula in Nusa Dua is lined with a variety of traditional music, dance, music, cultural performances, sports exhibitions and handicraft works. The opening day of the event features several exhibitions and art competitions at the beach fronts of restaurants and hotels along the peninsula. The following days are filled with charity gala dinners, live music and cultural performances, diving tours and carnivals for children. The festival shows the vibrant culture of the locals thus attracting many visitors, both international and domestic.
The Ubud Writers and Readers festival attracts speakers and writers from over 16 countries. It is among the premier literal festivals in Asia that comprises of literary workshops, youth’s programs, book launches, lively panel discussions, bi-lingual readings and special events that highlight arts and the community. The event is held between 7th and 11th October. The main events are held at Neka Museum and Indus restaurant in Sanggingan, Ubud. Other venues such as Casa Luna, Alila Ubud, Maya Ubud and Four Seasons also serve as hosts. The writers and readers festival is also celebrated in other parts outside Ubud such as Jimbaran, Denpasar and Seminyak.
Every year in December, top performers from all over the world gather in Nusa Dua to participate at the annual Bali Jazz Festival. Slated for 4th to 6th December, the event attracts local, international and national performers to celebrate different cultures. The Bali Jazz Festival culminates into the Tropical Food Stall Festival that treats visitors to indigenous Bali cuisine.
This 5-day event is held in late March and early April at the Bali Purnati Centre in Batuan. Classical Hatha Yoga, musical performances and traditional dance are some of the highlights at the festival.
The Kuta Karnival started in 2002 and is celebrated every year in October in Kuta. The festival has several events including Kuta Food Festival, cultural and art performances, paintings and handicrafts exhibitions, contests and games. Although each annual event has a different theme, the event aims at promoting unity and peace.
The Rice Harvest Festival is held from May 1 to June 30 in various places in Bali to celebrate the end of the harvest season. Numerous visitors flock the festival to sample the unique regional cuisine prepared in honor of the “Rice god” known as Dewi Sri. Visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy the Negara Bull Races. During the races, the bulls (water buffaloes) are decorated in accessories and hitched in pairs before competing in races as jockeys display their riding skills.