Galungan and Kuningan celebrations

Galungan day is a cause for big celebrations in Bali.

The holiday happened earlier this year on 1 Feb and is occurring again right now, 29 Aug 2012.

Penjor - decorated bamboo poles line the streets

Penjor – decorated bamboo poles line the village streets

This is because of the unique timing of the Balinese calendar – they use our normal calendar too, of course, but in the Balinese calendar the year is actually 210 days long,       in line with the lunar cycle.

In fact, right now, we are in 1934 – yes folks, I have travelled back in time!

Galungan always occurs on a Wednesday and finishes 10 days later on the Saturday which is called Kuningan day.

It is a particularly beautiful time to be in Bali, especially in and around Ubud.

The streets are lined with exquisitely decorated bamboo poles called Penjor.

Lamak hanging at the side of the doors

Lamak hanging at the side of the doors

Households who have had marriages during the year will display long Lamak outside their family compounds, a good example of this can be seen here.

Other households, like mine, will have shorter ones like these beside my door.  They are made from woven coconut leaves.

Lawar, fish sate (without the stick), ares (banana trunk vegetable) and rice

Lawar, fish sate (without the stick), ares (banana trunk vegetable) and rice

Children parade self-made Barongs through the streets and often into the bars and cafes – much to the amusement of the tourists.

The kids will play music, featuring gong’s and cymbals, and collect donations for their respective temples from holidaymakers and Balinese alike.

Delicious feasts are held throughout the island – for which many pigs give their lives to make lawar.

So what is the meaning behind all this celebration?

Well, as usual, it depends upon who you ask…

One answer is that, according to Balinese Hinduism, (which is different to Indian Hinduism), they believe that their gods (deliberate use of lower case) descend to earthly realms at this special time and that they stay until Kuningan day when they return from whence they came.

Naturally the Balinese wish to welcome the visiting gods and so, like any good host, they throw a party – Balinese style.

Pasek arranged for this huge basket of offerings and banana leaf decorations

Pasek arranged for this huge basket of offerings and banana leaf decorations

However other people say that Galungan represents triumph of dharma over adharma (virtue over evil).

Still others say it is a special time/auspicious time to make offerings to the house and its various important functions – like the stove in the kitchen and the water pipes etc.

Whatever you believe, it certainly is a lovely happy time – Happy Galungan and Kuningan.

Selamat hari raya Galungan dan Kuningan

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1 Comment

  1. The decorations are exquisite beyond imagining…like the people!

    Reply

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