The “Bulan Bahasa Bali” Festival Opens, A Dedicated Effort to Preserve the Balinese Language

The Balinese Language Month
Bulan Bahasa Bali or The Balinese Language Month (photo: BaliPost - Win)

The Sixth Edition of the Bulan Bahasa Bali Festival (The Balinese Language Month) Commences on Thursday, February 1, 2024. The event carries the theme “Jana Kerthi Dharma Sadhu Nuraga,” signifying the Balinese Language Month, an altar of reverence for the Balinese language, script, and literature as sources of truth, wisdom, and love to strengthen the identity of the Balinese community. The festival will run from February 1 to March 2, 2024.

This theme is translated into six agendas, including wimbakara (competition), sesolahan (performing arts), widyatula (seminar), kriyaloka (workshop), and reka aksara (exhibition).

The opening ceremony of the Bulan Bahasa Bali event began with a festival of inscribing palm leaves and typing Balinese script. It was inaugurated by the Secretary of the Bali Provincial Government, Dewa Made Indra, at the Ksirarnawa Building, Art Center, Denpasar.

Quoted from TribunBali, Dewa Indra stated that the Balinese Language Month is a means, vehicle, medium, and instrument to continuously preserve the glory of the Balinese language, script, and literature.

“This is the only way that the Balinese language, script, and literature will continue to be used and live among the people. We can be sure that in other regions that also have regional languages, they may not necessarily have media instruments to preserve and keep them alive,” said Dewa Indra.

Dewa Indra also mentioned that in other regions, their regional languages still exist and are used. However, it doesn’t necessarily ensure their survival among the people. Among the many mother tongues or regional languages, many have become extinct, including both script and language in Indonesia.

“The implementation of the Bulan Bahasa Bali for one month is a form of attention from the Bali Provincial Government to preserve the Balinese language, literature, and script,” he said.

The implementation of the Bulan Bahasa Bali aligns with efforts to protect and promote culture. This event is also held in conjunction with International Mother Language Day, as designated by UNESCO and commemorated every February 21.

The protection and preservation of regional languages or mother tongues, according to Indra, are crucial because many regional languages, both globally and in Indonesia, are at risk of disappearing or have already become extinct. Out of approximately 718 regional languages in Indonesia, at least 11 have become extinct and lost.

In his address, the Head of the Bali Provincial Culture Office, I Gede Arya Sugiartha, mentioned that there are 20 competitions during the implementation of Bulan Bahasa Bali VI. The event involves participants from the general public, language educators, and students from elementary school level.

Arya stated that the regular implementation of Bulan Bahasa Bali is also a form of worship to Dewi Saraswati as a manifestation of the Almighty God as the protector and bestower of knowledge.