Festival in Indonesia

Being a diverse country of origins and religions, Indonesia has a good mix of cultural events, ceremonies, and festivals. Come and experience the Indonesian festivals all year round; as you can see, you will never be short of choices.

With more than 230 million people, even the ‘minorities’ people will have large enough celebrations. Here you can find religious events from Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, and the rest of more local festivals, ceremonies, or arts and cultural events, some celebrated by the nation while most unique to local areas or regions.


Nyepi, which means “Day of Silence, is the day of the Balinese New Year, commemorated every Isaawarsa (Saka new year) based on the Balinese calendar, therefore changes every year but generally in March. On this day, you will find everything is closed in Bali, as it is a day of fasting and meditation. But on days preceding it, you will see people of Bali scrubbing, cleaning the status of Gods, praying, holding ceremonies, and various other rituals. Read more on Nyepi in Bali Festivals.

Nyepi, Balinese New Year @ Indonesia
Nyepi, Balinese New Year. Photo by mattspong

Toraja Funeral Ceremony

At Tana Toraja, you may observe their famous Toraja Funeral Ceremony. The Toraja people, who live in the highlands of South Sulawesi, do elaborate and fascinating funeral rites to send the spirit of the dead to the after-world to prevent misfortune on the deceased family. Usually, Torajans from all over Indonesia return between July and September to celebrate these annual funeral rituals.

Toraja Funeral Ceremony @ Indonesia
Toraja Funeral Ceremony. Photo by Arian Zweger

Baliem Valley Festival

This Baliem Valley festival is unique only to the Papua people, tracing its root in the belief held by the various local tribes that war is not just a conflict but also a symbol of fertility and prosperity. Celebrated in August, the main event is the mock war between the local tribes, with more than 20 tribes, each with 30-50 people clad in traditional clothing and fighting gear. There are also side performances and attractions of local traditional games, dances, and local food showcases. It is a vibrant and unique celebration of the Baliem Valley of indigenous culture.

Baliem Festival, Indonesia

Baliem Festival. Photo by Carsten ten Brink


Kesodo (Kasada) Ceremony

In August, hundreds of thousands of Tenggerese will gather at the famous Mount Bromo, an active crater in East Java, Indonesia. Asking for blessings and another year free of eruptions, the people will present offerings of rice, vegetables, fruits, animals, and other local produce to the God of the Mountain.


Pasola will be celebrated in various locations across East Nusa Tenggara in February or March. Every year there will be an announcement on where and when the celebration will be held. It is one of the most exciting Jousting Festival, well known worldwide, where people on horseback without saddles will throw spears (known as hola) at each other to unseat the opponent. It is a traditional Sumba ritual sport to keep the spirits happy and to bring a good harvest.

Waisak @ Borobudur, Indonesia
Waisak at Borobudur. Photo by pwbaker

Waisak (Vesak)

Indonesian Buddhists will usually observe this special day sometime during the full moon of May / June to commemorate the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Gautama Buddha. During Waisak in Borobudur, the largest Buddhist monument in the world, the day will be grandly celebrated by thousands of monks and pilgrims. Centred at the three Buddhist temples is the ceremony of walking from Mendut to Pawon and ending at Borobudur.

-> See Guide to Borobudur Temple Compounds


This important Hindu festival in Bali, is celebrated for the coming of the gods and the ancestral spirits to dwell in the home of their descendants. During this festival, Hindus will drive off evil spirits with incantations and firecrackers while expressing gratitude to their Gods by inviting them to earth with celebration, offerings, dancing, and new clothes.

Galungan @ Bali, Indonesia
Galungan at Bali. Photo by Photo by Carl Ottersen



Following the fasting, the Muslims will end with a huge celebration for three days following it.

Eid al-Fitr

This is when the Muslims commemorate the birth of Prophet Muhammad, with a week-long festival of gamelan performances and a parade of floats.

Independence / National day

The Indonesians will celebrate their Independence day on the 17th of August, which is their biggest national festival. Usually, there will be a grand parade before the President in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.

Independence Day in Jalan Jaksa, Jakarta, Indonesia

Independence Day in Jalan Jaksa, Jakarta. Photo by Graham Hills


Despite only 8% of the population who are Christian, it is still a significant amount of people, with it being a famous festival and a national holiday in December. Here you will find the usual Christmas celebrations of markets and shops selling gifts and accessories while many places organize parties and celebrations.

Specific places in Indonesia festivals:

Jalan Jaksa Festival

In the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, you may at least find a festival worth a visit. It usually takes place in July / August, when you can find the street closed to all traffic and replaced with food stalls, craft workshops, street artists, and musicians. You may try food from variousIndonesian specialties while immersed in the rest of the art shows like traditional martial art combat or Betawi orchestra. You may also find batik-making workshops in the midst of it all. Jalan Jaksa is also a popular place to stay in Jakarta *.

Festival Teluk Kendari

In April, partying and dragon-boat races will be in Sulawesi’s Kendari Bay.

Bidar Race

In August, you can find many vivid bidar (canoes) races in Sumatra’s Sungai Musi.

Bali Arts Festival

The largest annual celebration of art and culture in Indonesia, with a full month (between June-July) of daily performances, art exhibitions, dances, food, and other cultural offerings. Read more about this famous Bali Arts Festival. It is essential to search for a cheap Bali hotel a couple of months before this festival since they will increase their rates a few weeks to a month before.

Bali Arts Festival @ Indonesia
Bali Arts Festival. Photo by Pandu Adnyana

Yogya (Jogja) Arts Festival

You will find shows and exhibitions in Java’s cultural capital Yogyakarta from June to July.

Krakatoa festival

This annual festival, held in Lampung, celebrates the volcanic island called, you guessed it, Krakatoa. There will be performances, an elephant procession, and various dances in the town the finale of the event is a trip to the active volcanic island itself.

Bau Nyale Fishing Festival @ Lombok, Indonesia
Bau Nyale Fishing Festival at Lombok. Photo by kenken31

Bau Nyale Fishing Festival

In February or March, hundreds of people will rush to Lombok to catch a glimpse of the first nyale (worm-like fish) at the huge fishing festival. The indigenous Sasak people of Lombok will commemorate a mythical princess who had to drown in these waters to escape a politically arranged marriage. This festival is held simultaneously with the season of these worm-like fish, where they are caught and eaten roasted in banana leaves with much enthusiasm.

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