Balinese ceremonial culture is as beautiful as the sunset over the Indian Ocean. It is also entirely true that there is no day in Bali without some ceremony that includes life cycles (baby ceremonies, puberty rites, weddings, cremations, temple festivals).
There are certain times that are filled with important traditions such as the full moons in April and October and the precious holy days of Galungan that is happening this September from 6th till 8th. This holiday comes twice in a Gregorian year, as the Balinese use a 210-day calendar system known as the Pawukon.
Galungan celebrates the triumph of good over evil and for ten days Balinese families will pray and give offerings to Gods in ceremonies to cleanse and balance the energy of the island and people. Galungan features, among other things, barong dancing from temple to temple in the villages. If you see tall bamboo poles that are nicely decorated with woven coconut palm leaves, fruit, cakes and flowers, on the right side of every house entrance – they are called “penjor” and that is how Galungan is celebrated. Balinese also wear their finest formal clothes and jewelry.
Three days before Galungan – on the day called Penyekeban – families begin their preparations for Galungan. “Penyekeban” means “the day to cover up “, as this is the day when green bananas are covered up in clay pots to speed their ripening. Two days before Galungan – Penyajahan – is the day that marks introspection for all Balinese, and a time to make the Balinese cakes known as jaja. Cakes are made of fried rice dough, are used in offerings, but people also eat them on Galungan. You will find jaja cakes in every village market.
The day before Galungan – Penampahan – is a day when Balinese slaughter the sacrificial animals that are to be put as altar offerings. Galungan is also a day when locals eat traditional Balinese food such as lawar – a spicy pork and coconut sauce dish, and satay – grilled meat on skewers.
On Galungan Day itself – 7th of September 2016, Balinese pray at the temples and make their offerings to the Gods. You will see wom- en carry the huge pile of offerings on their heads. The day of Galungan is important for the Balinese, similar to a new year of Nyepi when everyone returns to their families and home villages. Kuningan marks the end of the 10-day festival and this year it comes on 17th of September. It is in Balinese belief that Kuningan is the day when their ances- tors return to heaven after visiting the Earth after celebrations of Galungan. They make offerings for the ancestors on their farewell day. The offerings include yellow rice (Kuningan derived from the word “kuning” which means yellow in Indonesian)■