Beautiful beaches, colourful surroundings and the perfect island vibe. To many people Bali is a magical place, but the word “cultural” may be more accurate. Bali is one of the few places you can really experience a culture that isn't your own by being surrounded by it almost constantly. Throughout the year many festivities and ceremonies take place. Galungan being one of the most important and the first one to happen on the Balinese calendar system, which only counts 210 days. This means Galungan happens every seven months, on the first Wednesday of the new moon.
What is Galungan?
Galungan is a 10-day festivity when the Balinese celebrate the victory of good over bad; Dharma over Adharma. It is celebrated with family, close friends and most importantly the spirits of their ancestors. Who are believed to come down to earth at Galungan. The rituals, performed during Galungan are meant to be welcoming as well as entertaining to the returning souls. People that have travelled to Bali before will be familiair with Balinese offerings. On Galungan especially they are given to show gratitude and hope for protection. The festivities end 10 days later on Kuningan.
Tuesday, the day before Galungan, is the day that many families sacrifice a pig as a symbol of killing laziness. The meat is used for offerings and is eaten during the days of Galungan. The penjors (bamboo poles) get put up by the men, while the women prepare the offerings. Wednesday is known as Galungan Day. This day is used to go to the familial or local temples where the Gods and Goddesses come to earth for their blessings. The day after Galungan Day is the day to celebrate with family and relatives.
What does Galungan mean for you?
Although you generally can't participate in these celebrations, being in Bali during these festivities is mesmerizing. You will see people in colorful, traditional clothing while they make their way to the temple. The streets are decorated with penjors, which are long bamboo poles embellished with coconut leaves, fruits, flowers and coconuts. They represent furtility of the land and the content of nature. Your surroundings will look amazing and unlike any other. It will, however, also mean that some restaurants and shops - like ours - will be closed. But really, what difference does a day make? Especially when you get such a big experience in return. Last, but certainly not least: the streets are way less busy. Meaning; no traffic.
Happy Galungan Day!