Bali Tourism Directory-header APRIL 2020

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Galungan Day

Galungan is one of the Great Holy Days in Bali which publicly celebrated by all Balinese Hindus on the island of Bali. Rituals are centralised all temples: family temples, territorial temples, functional temples and public temples. This usually takes a day to complete worshiping in those temples.




This year, Galungan Day falls on Wednesday, 14 April 2021. Millions of Balinese people visit temples across the island since early morning until late at night while bringing offerings to be served for their almighty God "Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa".


The Significance of Galungan Day

Galungan which is commonly known by Hindus in Bali as commemoration of victory Dharma (good spirits) against Adharma (evil spirits) falls every 210 days  exactly on on Buda Kliwon Dungulandetermined according to Balinese Calendar. 


Balinese Hindus across the island are very excited to celebrate this particular Hindu holy day celebration as it takes quite long to prepare and also there are forthcoming rites to follow afterward. 


As prescribe in the definition, the objective of Galungan celebration is actually to REMOVE the bad characteristics of human being such as anger, greediness, impoliteness, drunkenness, disrespect, unkindness, arrogance, thankfulness, to be replaced with positive characteristics such as peace, politeness, respect, kindness, patience and so on that lead to peaceful life which in Bali termed as “Shanti” and aslo achieve truly the meaning of "culture" which in Bali its definition nowadays tended to be much minimised as arts which results misunderstanding.


Thus, the celebration of Galungan will be valueless or even no meaning at all if Hindus are failed to combat the abovementioned negative characteristics. Of course, this is the challanges of the Hindu religious leaders to reaffirm the meaning of Galungan day to avoid misunderstanding in interpreting this particular Hindu holy day. 






Sequences of Galungan Celebration

The preparation of Galungan day begins a few days before the date. Hindu Balinese people in Bali shall be ready for this celebration at least two days before Galungan day and one day afterward. Below is the detailed sequences.



Two days befor Galungan day is called Penyajaan in which Balinese people are busy making traditional Balinese cakes for the rituals. The word Penyajaan is derived from word "Jaje" which menas cakes. Therefore Penyajaan simply means the day of cake making.


A number of cakes will be made by Balinese women during the days to ensure that they are enough to be arranged as offerings and served on Galungan day. The most famous cakes for Galungan are "Jaje Uli" which is made of rice which is blended with coconut milk, salt and some water; and "Tape"  fermented black rice. The Jaje Uli dan Tape are very well combinations of traditional foods to be enjoyed on Galungan Day.  



Penampahan Galungan

Penampahan comes one day prior to Galungan day where male Balinese people slaughter pigs, chickens or ducks for the offerings and also to be consumed by the family to celebrate the victory. Penampahan is derived from a Balinese word "Tampah" which means slaughter.



Lawar, made on served on Penampahan Galungan


A number of traditional Balinese foods made during the day such as lawar, sate, tum, komoh, etc. which mainly made from chickens, ducks, and porks. This is the day where Balinese people gather with their family to have meals together with thier family or relatives tasting thier most favourite traditional meals which may only be enjoyed once in six months.







Lawar: typical Balinese food served on Penampahan Galungan 


On this day, Balinese women are busy preparing the offerings to be served since today in dusk evening until next coming Thursday. The cakes made on previous day are arranged along with fresh fruits such as apple, manggo, pear, banana, pineaple an so on to be served for the God.



Penjor: symbolising mountain - the source of prosperitiy 


While, the men are busy preparing the meals for the family. Some men are also preparing the Penjor - one of the most important elements that must exist on Galungan Day to celebrate the victory day. Penjor is high bent bamboo decorated with young coconut leaves and some cakes, fruits, tuber crops like potato and sweet potato, dried coconut that symbolizes a mountain where the god of prosperity believed to reside.


Penjor has been used by Balinese people to express thier thank to the God by displaying somes of the human needs that directly taken from the nature. The long lines of Penjor that established along the roads in the sity and country side will make the atmosphere of Galungan Day much more colourful and create more deeply divine sense.   





Galungan Day

On Galungan Day Hindus in Bali wearing traditional Balinese costumes visit temples and worship thier gods to show thier respects and say thank you for the life being given and prosperity they gain so far. Of course, they bring some offerings that symbolically presented to the almighty God while worshipping which then taken home to be shared within thier family to celebrate Galungan - the Victory day.


Family temples and territorial temples (Pura Desa, Pura Puseh and Pura Dalem) will be the most crowded places where Hindus in Bali practising thier believes on Galungan Day; even though some Hindus will also visit some public temples such as Besakih Temple, Goa Lawah Temple, Jagat Natha Temple, Tirtha Empul Temple, etc. 


After worshipping, Hindus in Bali visit thier relatives and neighbours to say "Happy Galungan Day" and; some will also use this Great day to ask for an "EXCUSE" for any mistakes made during the previous days. Some families also have tradition to invite thier friends and or colleagues to celebrate the Galungan Day by preparing the invited guests very sepecial Galungan meals as abovementioned.


In some villages in Bali, tenagers and kids prepare some competitions or games among the youth organization member to celebrate Galungan Day. The most popular is "Panjat Pinang" where a number of stuffs hung on the slippery pole and the people shall work in group to climb and reach the stuffs as Galungan Day presents. It is very fun! Hundreds of local people will watch this games and laugh very loudly to support them. 


For Hindus having strong spirituality, they tend to spend their times to visit public temples to pray and meditate to get closer to the God to have peaceful life. As Hindu belief that on Galungan Day, the God and manifestation come down to the universe to bless the human being and other creatures.


Since morning to evening, temple priests in almost all temples across the island are very busy serving the worshippers: leading the prayer, distributing Tirtha (holy water) and Bija (sacred rice) that normally displayed on the worshippers' foreheads as a symbol of blessing from the God. 



Umanis Galungan

One day after Galungan Day is called "Umanis Galungan". Some Balinese still continue their religious trip on Umanis Galungan visiting temples where they belived to have spiritual power and God resides on the temple.


Mostly, Balinese people visit their relatives and friends on Umanis Galungan to express their sincere upon the celebration of Galungan - the victory day. While many of the people living on the island will have pleasure with their family visiting tourism sites such as Bedugul Botanical garden on other newly tourism sites developed on Bali island.





Time to Return Homes

Most of Hindus who earn livings in the capital city or work away from their hometown and have long leaves will return home earlier, a day or two days prior to the day; while some also return exactly on the day as they have to finish their jobs before they are free to celebrate the day. During the Galungan day Hindus in Bali go to temples such as family temples (Sanggah, Merajan, Paibon/Pura Ibu), territorial temples (Pura Puseh, Pura Desa and Pura Dalem), functional temples (Pura Subak and Pura Melanting) and public temples (Besakih, Goa Lawah, Sakenan, Uluwatu, Tanah Lot, Tirtha Empul temples, etc.).



Different Religious Itineraries

Their religious arrangements really depend on their times and also budgets to visit those temples since they have to consider their “cash” on offerings (banten), transportation, meals and other expenses that cost pretty a lot. Isn’t that amazing, for some people who have basic salary (minimum regional wage) might spend quarter or even a half of their monthly salary to complete the whole sets of rite. But again, they would be very happy to do so as this is a part their family traditions and cultures inherited from their previous generation.




Written by Dr I Nengah Subadra


Bali, 02 December 2015




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