Religious ceremonies in Bali are arguably one of the significant bits that appeal tourists to come and see different scenes from other destinations. Of all the Hindu holy days celebrated in the island, Galungan is a major one to look forward since picturesque euphoria covers distinct experiences. But before jumping into the crowd, here are seven things you should know about Galungan.
#1 The Story Behind
No religious ceremony is commemorated without a belief. For Galungan, it is about the good against the evil. Balinese people believe that on this day, the good ancestral spirits visit them so they have to foster such hospitality in their houses.
#2 A Three-day Celebration
Galungan is a three-day religious ceremony though on Balinese calendar it is marked for one day only. Usually the first day before, Balinese people prepare the penjor (ornamental bamboo poles) and festive offerings. On the second day, they pray at the temple and it is followed by visiting their relatives the next day (more commonly known as Manis Galungan).
#3 Closed Shops
Expect many shops and public places are closed on the day of Galungan as the employees have a day-off. Few major supermarkets, touristic spots and restaurants, however, are still open although the operational time is probably different from the usual.
#4 Decorous Streets and Public Spaces
Colourful streets decorated by bamboo poles (penjor) lining up on the pavements is exactly the reason you should bring along your camera on Galungan. Moreover, the scenic landscapes are more happening in the suburban areas where villages features certain traditional practices – with less concrete and cables of the cities to contaminate your snaps. We recommend you to visit the central (Ubud), east (Padang Bai) and west Bali (Pemuteran) to capture more vibrant vibes.
#5 Jam-packed Temples
If you plan to swing by the temples, please be aware that Balinese people will crowd them to hold this ceremony. Numbers of tourists, yet, obviously do not want to pass the chance of cultural observance. Basically, it is okay to attend some temples and join them in the celebration but be mind that some temples have strict house rules, disallowing tourists to take pictures or enter some of the sacred spots.
#6 Pleasing Parades
Throughout the day from early in the morning to the evening Balinese people wearing traditional clothes carrying offerings parade the streets. From time to time, a walking throng is crossing the main streets, allies and sometimes to the shorelines. If you are a first-timer tourist in Bali, this scene is captivating to capture.
#7 Followed by Kuningan
And..the ceremony has not yet ended. After 10 days, they recognise the ancestor spirits return to the afterlife so people have to arrange their farewell called Kuningan. Balinese will cook yellowed (kuning in Indonesian) rice to be mixed with seeds, fish, and fruit. The offering itself symbolises human's gratitude towards God for all the life, joy, wealth, health and prosperity given. You will notice similar ambience with slightly different decorations. In the villages, traditional entertainment for example Barong dance and traditional music amusement will be delivered around the village.