Penampahan Galungan

Penampahan Galungan: Preparations and Slaughters

It starts suddenly in the middle of the night, while people are sound asleep. It sounds like the wailing of a milk-lusting baby. But the wailing soon dies out into a whine of despair and a last shriek of death. And, as the first light of dawn is rising on the horizon, other similar squealling

Nyepi Kasa : A Second Nyepi at Buahan Village

In Buahan, a village north of Ubud, a rare custom takes place whereby the community don’t only celebrate the official Nyepi, the day of silence, but celebrate a second Nyepi called Nyepi Kasa. Nyepi literally means to be silent and Kasa means the first month in Balinese calendar. It’s the second celebration of Nyepi held

Tumpek Krulut : A Balinese Valentine

As February waltzes in, sweethearts around the world swing in full pursuit of flowers, chocolates and vows to exchange in the name of love. In Balinese culture, affection is instead shared through a day of prayers and ballads of music. Valentine’s Day is synonymous with romance and indulgence; and traditionally recognised as a holiday inspired

Hari Raya Galungan Bali Ceremony

Hari Raya Galungan: When Good Triumphs Over Evil

Galungan is one of the most important ceremonies on the Balinese calendar. The exact dates of this auspicious day are calculated through the 210-day Balinese calendar, where the Galungan period will last 10 days.  You’ll know when Galungan is coming a few days, or even weeks before it actually arrives as the whole island is

Melaspas House Blessing Ceremony Bali (7 of 11)

Melaspas : Bali’s House Blessing Ceremony

It seems there is a ceremony for everything in Bali! Another ceremony you’ll find on the Island of the Gods is a house blessing ceremony, known locally as Melaspas. This involves a priest, prayers and offerings that will cleanse every corner of the house and its compound. The Melaspas ceremony is mandatory before moving into

Megesah : Torturing the Newly Weds

Answer these questions – and quickly!“What is your name? Where do you come from? Why do you want to marry him? When was your first kiss with him? Is he a good lover, or just average?” Imagine this is you in the hot seat, with the village youth surrounding you, barraging you with all sorts

The Bade Makers: Bali’s Coffin Craftsmen

Tucked away in a back street on the outskirts of Denpasar is a strange and wondrous sight. Every few days this wide, open shed is populated with beautifully wrought animals. Fine looking bulls are the main production although sometimes you might see a pig, a dog or even a lion.  They are bade, effigies used

Tenganan Turns it On

The residents of Bali’s most famous traditional Bali Aga village like to celebrate and every month of June, they really like to turn it on. During this month the village comes alive as the festival season revs up with dance, ceremony and a host of visual extravaganzas. The month’s celebrations peak, on the 24th and

Bali’s Traditional Sports : Racing Bulls & Flying Kites

In the purest sense, the traditional sports in Bali are reflections of the island’s culture, providing a window into the way of life of the Balinese people. These traditional games don’t only promote sportsmanship, but also provide recreational opportunities for the Balinese. From a bull race to mud wrestling and the island-wide kite competitions, these

Kintamani’s Surprising Chinese Celebrations

Who would have thought that the annual Chinese New Year celebrations, so visible in places like Singapore, Penang and Kuala Lumpur would also include a very colourful festival in Kintamani. While the poster said the celebrations would last all day we arrived in time for the start of a very engaging procession that led from

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