From TED events to kissing ceremonies to electro dance festivals, Bali’s spectrum of events is eclectic to say the least. Due largely to the island’s rich Hindu culture, tourists will be hard-pressed to visit when there isn’t a major event taking place.
The aforementioned smooch fest marks the first day of the Balinese New Year in March followed by Melasti, a purification ceremony which sees thousands of people flock to Bali’s beaches at dawn with offerings to the deities. Things get a little more extreme for the ceremony of Ngerebong where locals summon the protection of Hindu spirits while plunging knives into their necks and chests. Surprisingly, no blood is drawn and this is believed to prove that they do indeed have the protection of the gods. Not an event for the fainthearted! A merrier time is had throughout the 10 day Galungan Festival. During this time locals wear their finest threads and decorate their homes with bamboo poles adorned with woven coconut palm leaves, and leave fruit, cakes and flowers out as offerings. It’s a pretty darn beautiful time to be there.
Bali has also developed quite the reputation for its creative landscape. The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Balinale International Film Festival, Flickerfest Short Film Festival, Bali Spirit Festival, Bali Art Festival, Bali Kite Festival, Sanur Village Festival and Bali Live Jazz International Festival are all testaments to this.
For salty folk there are surf events all year round but the Rip Curl Cup at Padang Padang takes centre stage.
And then there is the Balinese nightlife which is an event unto itself. Ku De Ta and Potato Head, two of Bali’s major nightclubs, host a range of events featuring international artists and musicians, as does the annual Dreamfields Dance Festival. Now, where to find time for that massage?