Traditional Balinese wedding

A wedding is an important event in Balinese society. It is one of the rituals of yadnya, designed to bring the material and spiritual worlds into harmony. A wedding or "pawiwahan" becomes sacred because it involves three important forms of witnesses: gods, creatures from the underworld, and people.

The wedding is also important because it is only after the wedding that the bride and groom become full members of the rural community, the banjar, with all rights and responsibilities. After the marriage, the man is given the right to vote in the banjar and must take over the duties of attending temple ceremonies and participating in community activities. That is, other members of the community recognize him as an adult.

A wedding will not be accepted by the community if it is held without a Balinese sacral ceremony. In case of violation, the couple may be excluded from the village community.

photo: Ekaterina Ovechkina 

The wedding has a special place because the future generation will continue the Balinese traditions and way of life and provide an opportunity for reincarnation of ancestors.

A Balinese wedding is not just a union of a woman and a man, but also an important spiritual event.

The order of wedding rituals is determined by the priest according to the principles of the right place, time and circumstances. 

photo: Ekaterina Ovechkina 

There are several types of Balinese weddings depending on the proposal:


A young man and a girl arrange a meeting in a private place, so the girl's parents cannot control them. They usually spend the night together at a friend's house. In the morning, information about the future event is spread.

Under these circumstances, the girl cannot go back to her parents' house and continue living as before.

In most cases, the girl's parents are not surprised. At the same time, they try to demonstrate the rage that the young man provoked such shame.

photo: Ekaterina Ovechkina


The groom's family comes to the bride's house to inform that he wants to get married. The bride confirms that she is ready to marry the groom and the family agrees to the union.

It's a more respectful ceremony.

It's an expensive process because it involves processions and offerings. Of course, it gets more respect from the bride's relatives, but it also involves a risk for the groom, as he has to get the bride's parents' approval first.

photo: Ekaterina Ovechkina


A man is moving into his wife's house. This happens if the girl's parents have no sons and therefore no one to look after their property. That is, the groom is accepted into the bride's family to continue the male line of this family. In this case, the consent of the groom's parents is required for the marriage.

photo: Ekaterina Ovechkina

Medewasa Ayu

After receiving consent to marry, the groom goes to the priest to ask about the most auspicious day for the wedding. This ritual of determining the right day is called Medewasa Ayu.


The purpose of this ceremony is to prepare the future bride for the life of her wife and housewife.

It begins with a request to God for happiness and good offspring. The bride's hair must be washed during a special ritual.

The bride makes offerings and is not allowed to leave the room until the groom comes and picks her up.

When the groom comes to pick up the bride, she wears yellow clothes. The ceremony shows that the bride is ready to leave her past and start life with a new partner.

photo: Ekaterina Ovechkina

Mungkah Lawang

The name of the ritual translates to "open the door." During the ceremony, the groom knocks on the bride's door three times to the accompaniment of Balinese music and chants.

The content of the song tells of the groom's request to the bride to open the door.


The ceremony is held when the bride and groom are in the groom's house.

It is a ritual of inviting the bride. Entering the wedding tent, the groom's mother asks the bride for a yellow cloth. The bride's cloth is removed and she exchanges it for symbolic silver “kepeng” coins.


The ceremony is called upon to purify the bride and groom from negative energies. It is conducted by a Balinese priest.

photo: Ekaterina Ovechkina

Metatah or Mepandes

Tooth filing is an important ritual for every Balinese and must be done before marriage. This is why it often takes place in a series of weddings if it has not been performed before entering maturity.

After prayers and offerings to the gods, the couple lies on a low platform surrounded by parents and relatives. The traditional dentist or sangging files canines. The Balinese believe that canines represent animal characteristics of humans.

Usually it takes 10-15 minutes to file teeth. Sangging puts a piece of cane sugar in the mouth so the person does not close it. The upper teeth are filed first, then the lower teeth.

This process is believed to relieve the Balinese of six destructive passions. Lust "kama”, greed "lobha", anger "kroda", anxiety "moha”, vanity "mada" and envy "matsarya”.

photo: Ekaterina Ovechkina

Mewidhi Widana

The ceremony consists of a request to God for the blessing of the marriage and the acceptance of the new family.

Mejauman Ngabe Tipat Bantal

A few days after the couple becomes as husband and wife, the bride is taken to her house.This ritual symbolizes farewell to parents, relatives and ancestors.

Wedding clothes

Newlyweds cannot choose their wedding clothes entirely at their discretion. They are determined according to their caste. The basis of the costume is a canvas “songket”. It is lavishly decorated with gold and there are bright colors - blue, yellow, orange and red. All of these colours symbolize joy.

The luxury of the songket shows the wealth of the family and belonging to the caste.

The bride wears a crown and the height of this crown also speaks of her caste. The higher the crown, the higher the caste.

The new family

After the wedding, the wife inherits her husband's caste. As a rule, Balinese of higher castes look for an equal partner to continue the caste line.

photo: Ekaterina Ovechkina

Have you ever attended a Balinese traditional wedding? How did you feel? Which ceremony was the brightest or most interesting for you?