What to Look for in a Balinese Festival

Article by: unknown author

Fri August 10, 2012 | 00:00 AM


You’ll see families all decked out in their finest clothes, riding five to a motorbike, with offerings in hand. The offerings – mostly fruit and flowers – are taking in procession to every temple, and a great deal of feasting with family and friends takes place on this family-oriented holiday that takes place every 210 days (the length of the traditional Balinese calendar).


One of my favorite elements of Bali is the ornamentation of their wardrobes. Having been born on Halloween, I have a special place in my heart for those cultures that like to get dressed up and decked out. Balinese women are particularly ornate in their costumes.


Celebrating the victory of good over evil, Galungan is when all the Balinese gods come down to earth to celebrate. Barong dances are traditional and troupes move from village to village and temple to temple. The dancers masks are sacred and a local priest makes blessings and offerings to them before they are brought out and worn. Soon after I left Bali, one of the island’s biggest annual festivals, Galungan, commenced and lasted for more than a week when the whole island celebrates the victory of good over evil.


A Balinese spiritual leader making prayers in tandem with sprinkling holy water before a cremation ceremony. As fun and festive as these rituals improbably are, there is also some serious spiritualizing that needs to be tended to as well.