We wish during your trip to Bali, in the near future to attend the Galungan festival. It is one of the great sacred days of Bali which is celebrated by all Balinese on the island of Bali. Rituals are centralized in all temples: family temples, territorial temples, functional temples and public temples. It usually takes a day to complete the religious process in these temples.
Galungan occurs twice a year in the 210-day cycle of the Balinese calendar and marks the time of year when the spirits of the ancestors are believed to visit the earth. The Balinese perform rituals designed to welcome and entertain these returning spirits.
The houses that represent the center of Balinese society come alive thanks to the devotions offered by the families who live there. Families offer generous sacrifices of food and flowers to ancestral spirits, expressing their gratitude and hope for protection. These sacrifices are also offered in the local temples, which are filled with the faithful.
All over the island stand high bamboo poles, or Penjor, which are usually decorated with coconut leaves and flowers and installed to the right of each residence entrance. At each entrance you will also find small bamboo altars, set up especially for the festival, each bearing palm leaf offerings for the spirits.
This year, the fate of Galungan takes place on Wednesday, September 16, 2020. The Balinese visit the temples from morning until late at night, while bringing offerings to serve their God “Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa”.
The objective of the Galungan celebration is in fact to REMOVE the bad characteristics of the human being such as anger, greed, rudeness, drunkenness, disrespect, meanness, arrogance, to replace them with positive characteristics such as peace, politeness, respect, kindness, patience and so on, which lead to a serene life that Bali calls “Shanti”.
On the day of Galungan, the Balinese dressed in traditional costumes visit the temples and pray to their gods to show their respect and say thank you for the life given to them and the prosperity they have gained so far. Of course, they bring offerings that they symbolically present to the God during their ceremony and then take home to share them with their families to celebrate the Galungan – Victory Day.
Family temples and territorial temples (Pura Desa, Pura Puseh and Pura Dalem) will be the most frequented places where Balinese will pray on Galungan Day; although some Hindus will also visit some public temples such as Besakih Temple, Goa Lawah Temple, Jagat Natha Temple, Tirtha Empul Temple, and so on.
After prayers, Balinese people visit their relatives and neighbors to say “Galungan Jewels” and some will also use this great day to ask for “forgiveness” for the mistakes of the previous days. Some families also have the tradition of inviting their friends and/or colleagues to celebrate Galungan Day by preparing for the guests very special Galungan meals such as Babi Guling, Lawar; a kind of spicy salad and traditional skewers and cakes.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bali government is limiting major events this year. Prayers in the village temples (Pura Desa, Pura Puseh, and Pura Dalem) are limited only to the chief of ceremony and the temple committee. People can only pray in the family temple and are forbidden to go to each other
The government insists that people always follow health protocol; wear masks, wash their hands, maintain physical distance and avoid crowds.
Selamat Rahina Galungan on behalf of Balipassion to you, your family and all your friends.