Balinese holidays

Offering making, praying, feasting and the raising of penjors – large decorated bamboo poles – are among the traditions of the Balinese holidays. Here is an overview of the most important holidays in Bali.

Most of the Balinese holidays are dictated by the Balinese calendar systems, most of them by the pawukon calendar, where a year consists of 210 days. Therefor Balinese holidays like Galungan, Kuningan, Saraswati and Pagerwesi falls on different dates every year  and sometimes two times within the same year (measured on the western Gregorian calendar).

The exception to this rule is Nyepi – The Balinese New Year, that is dictated by the Balinese saka calendar, that is a solar calendar similar to the western Gregorian calendar. Hence, Nyepi always falls in the spring, usually in March.

Balinese holidays
Nyepi Day
2014: 31.03
2015: 21.03The Balinese New Year -also known as The Day of Silence. Processions with Ogoh ogohs, bamboo crackers and music on Nyepi night. On Nyepi Day everybody stay in their homes, activities and light are kept to a minimum. Even Denpasar Airport is closed.
Galungan
2014: 21.05 and 17.12Galungan is the most important holidays in Bali and is the beginning of 10 days of celebrations. The Balinese gods’ visits earth and defied ancestors descend to their former homes. Feasting, praying, making offering to the gods and the deceased ancestors, erecting penjors and family visits are all parts of the celebrations.
Kuningan
2014: 31.05 and 27:12Kuningan marks the end of the Galungan festival and is the day when the deified ancestors return to the heavens. In comparison to the rest of the Galungan celebrations Kuningan is more private in nature and mostly celebrated within the shrines, family temples or homes.
Saraswati
2014: 08.03 and 04.10Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge and this day celebrates the gift of knowledge. No books are to be opened on Saraswati day.
Pagerwesi
2013: 12.03 and 08.10Pagerwesi means iron fence. Pagerwasi is the day where Hindus strengthen their mental and spiritual fortification against evil. Pagerwesi is celebrated in larger scale in the north than in the south, including the erection of Penjors(tall decorated bamboo poles).