Galungan is the most important religious festival in Bali as commemorates the victory of good (dharma) over evil (adharma) in Hindu. The celebration is a way to honor the universe creator, Ida Sang Hyang Widhi and also ancestors’ spirits. Balinese people believe that gods descent on earth to celebrate while ancestors’ spirits also come to visit their home. Therefore, the Galungan celebration means to welcome these holy spirits to the human life.
Series of Hindu ceremonies are being performed for the 10 days of festivals. During this festival, all Balinese Hindu Dharma focuses on living the life in the essence of dharma. During the Galungan day, there are some ceremonies performed. One of the ceremonies is Ngelawang which is an exorcism ceremony through the performance of Barong dance. The barong is invited to houses while he dances throughout the village. The presence of barong is to restore the good and evil balance.
The preparations for Galungan and Kuningan begin several days before the celebration day.
Penyekeban – the preparation starts from three days before Galungan. It is called Penyekeban which actually means to cover up. This is the time to place green or unripe bananas in a huge clay pot and cover it up to speed the ripening.
Penyajahan – two days before Galungan is the time time to make Balinese traditional cakes called Jaja. It symbolizes the time for introspection. The colorful traditional cakes are used for offerings as well as eaten during the day of Galungan.
Penampahan – On a day before Galungan is known as slaughter day when Balinese people sacrifice animals for altar offerings or go into the temple. The Galungan day is marked as there will be a huge supply of traditional Balinese food.
Galungan – on the Galungan day, Balinese people put on their finest clothing to go to temples and pray for their ancestors. They also make offerings for the spirits.
Manis Galungan – a day after Galungan is like Boxing Day. Balinese people visit their families, friends, and relatives. Some people may also have some fun trips to bind the relationship.
Kuningan – This is the tenth day after Galungan. During this time, Balinese people believe that the spirits will ascend back to the heaven. On this day, Balinese people will make special yellow turmeric rice offerings.
Galungan and Kuningan 2017
This Galungan and Kuningan celebration is actually open for Balinese People only as it is religious festivals. However, tourists also get the chance to see the activity of local people. The Galungan and Kuningan are celebrated for twice a year. This year the celebration Galungan will be held on April 4 and November 1 while the ten days after, Kuningan will be celebrated on April 15 and November 11. Even though this festive celebration is like a lifetime experience, but tourists should be aware that many places will close down the business during the celebration. This is to respect the employees who will celebrate the Galungan in their respective village.