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Bali Festivals, Annual Celebrations and Events

From annual festivals centred around music and tradition to national holidays celebrating religion and culture, Bali buzzes year-round with a glittering collection of events. From the north to the south and everywhere in between, the archipelago boasts both one-off events, as well as annual festivities. Whether you plan your visit around one of the vibrant Bali festivals or stumble upon an event on your visit, you won’t be disappointed.

Nyepi Day (March)

Observed as a public holiday in Indonesia, Nyepi is known as The Day of Silence, centred around fasting and meditation. Recognised as Bali’s ‘New Year’, the island’s bustling roads fall quiet and residents and visitors alike are expected to follow the rules of the day from 6am until 6am the next morning, which includes not visiting beaches, restaurants, or going outside at all, with even Bali’s main airport closing its doors for the day. Encouraging self-reflection for Balinese people, it is a truly beautiful day that celebrates the essence of slowing down and connecting more deeply with oneself and God. The evening before Nyepi sees parades along the streets whilst the day after sees a host of varying social activities, with friends and family coming together.

Where: Across Bali

GWK Cultural Park Events (Year-Round)

Setting the scene for one of the most incredible venues in Bali, the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park is not only home to the largest statue in Indonesia, it’s the perfect place to host live events in Bali, from musical acts to cultural celebrations. December 2023 sees the park host a line-up of world-class dance acts for the 15th anniversary of the EDM Djakarta Warehouse Project festival, featuring artists David Guetta, Oliver Heldens and many more. Set amid the magnitude of Bali’s most iconic 122-metre statue, it will provide a magnificent backdrop for the festival and many more events to come.

Where: Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park, Ungasan

Taman Festival Bali Park (Year-Round)

The Taman Festival is an abandoned theme park in Sanur with over 20 years of history. Whilst it was originally designed to become a visitor hotspot, for reasons unknown, it never quite reached completion. Today, it may be more aptly referred to as a permanent art gallery than a festival, but it really is a feast for the eyes for all those who experience it. Overgrown foliage, moss-covered architecture, statues and art murals can be found scattered throughout the abandoned park, as well as old ticket booths and the beginnings of cafes, eateries and an old 3D cinema. For the inquisitive, it’s a great day out—whether you’re a photographer looking to get some creative snaps, or simply looking to embrace the atmospheric feeling that resonates as you wander and explore. Whilst there are some beliefs from locals that the park is home to roaming spirits, it can also be seen as a fantastic testament to the workings of time and nature on a man-made creation, as well as a living memorial that will only grow more impressive and iconic as the years roll on.

Where: Padanggalak, Sanur

Bali Arts Festival (June-July)

The Bali Arts Festival (locally known as Pesta Kesenian Bali) is one of Bali’s longest running arts festivals, inaugurated in 1979. A magnificent month-long event in Bali that celebrates, preserves and develops Balinese art and culture, the festival is a true highlight in the calendar, showcasing Bali’s wealth of performing arts—giving them a stage to truly come to life. Hosted in Denpasar, the festival shines a spotlight on the diversity of the arts across Bali’s regions, showcasing dances, paintings, musical renditions and much more. Presenting a different theme for performances to embrace each year, the Taman Werdhi Budaya Art Centre blossoms with a range of pavilions, stages and amphitheatres from which locals and visitors can enjoy Indonesia’s melting pot of culture and creativity.

Where: Werdhi Budaya Art Centre, Denpasar

Bali Kite Festival (July-August)

Taking to the skies, Bali Kite Festival brings colour and fun to the coastal region of Padanggalak, where kites of all shapes, sizes and colours soar above the beaches and take on a life of their own. Fun for both kids and adults, the strong winds during July to August (sometimes up until October), make it great for both locals and visitors to enjoy and even take part. Many traditional Balinese kites take to the sky, including Bebean, a kite that resembles a fish, Janggan, a long tail bird or dragon, and Peukan, a kite shaped like a giant leaf. In Balinese culture, kite flying holds deep cultural significance—a belief that as they fly through the sky, they are carrying messages to the Gods and spirits, asking for blessings and good fortune. As well as this, it is a key communal activity, forging collaboration and connection through the fun of kite flying teamwork and the embrace of outdoor activities in nature. In this way, the Bali Kite Festival is an immersive day for both locals and visitors.

Where: Padanggalak, Sanur

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (October)

For those with a love for words and ideas, the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is an annual literary celebration that shouldn’t be missed. Where the love of writing comes to the fore, visitors are invited to immerse themselves in a selection of discussions, literary lunches, live performances and workshops. Festival founder, Janet DeNeefe, describes the festival as a “vibrant platform for cross-cultural, creative, and intellectual exchange, bringing people together through the power of storytelling”. 2023’s 20th anniversary festival saw anthology readings of Indonesian writings, awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award to Balinese playwright and poet, Putu Wijaya, as well as over 200 speakers. For those just starting out on their literary journey to those already adept, the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival offers a creative landscape to communicate with like-minded individuals, providing a space for the sharing of skills and feedback.

Where: Several venues in Ubud

Galungan and Kuningan (Year-Round)

A celebration full of joy and happiness, Galungan and Kuningan celebrates the victory of good over evil, a day recognised every 210 days of the Pawukon calendar and lasting for 10 days. Gulungan marks the beginning of the ancestral spirits visiting Earth, whilst Kuningan is when they return. On the main day of the celebration, Balinese families visit temples wearing vibrant traditional clothes with offerings in tow, as they pray and spend quality time with their loved ones. The most significant indicator of the festivities are the bamboo poles or ‘penjor’ that are installed on the sides of the roads as gratitude for the prosperity and welfare gifted by the Gods. Since Bali adheres to the 210 day Pawukon calendar, the Galungan and Kuningan celebrations fall on varying months each year, meaning there can often be two celebrations per solar year. If you’re visiting Bali, you have a high chance of coinciding with this amazing celebration. 

Where: Across Bali

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