The village odalan is the most iconic festival on Bali
. Every 210 days (the length of the Balinese calendar), each village celebrates the anniversary of one of its temples. Since there are more than 20,000 village temples on the island, this translates to about 100 odalans a day. The odalan usually lasts a few days with dancing, feasting, mythological characters in costume, and, of course, multiple gamelan orchestras. My favorite part was getting doused with holy water as I entered the temple. Buy a sarong when you get to Bali as it will help you get entrance to all kinds of ceremonies. Or, if you choose to hire a guide for the day, they may be able to provide you a wardrobe. Some of the most interesting activities are happening behind the scenes. At this Kedewatan odalan (this village is on the Ayung River Gorge near the Amandari resort), what I found most provocative was the men and boys playing Kocokan. Kocokan is a basic staple of village manhood, especially during an odalan. The game resembles roulette: Players bet on six cartoon versions of Hindu gods, demons or animals. Three large dice are rolled with faces matching the pictures. The banker puts the dice on a plate and covers them with a bowl, shakes them up, and uncovers them to see which faces show up, which determines the winning bets. There’s a shadow puppet show for kids in the temple, but the real “shadow-y” action is out the backdoor at the Kocokan mat.