Bali’s 3 biggest holidays are the most important days for the Balinese. During this holiday the island will get so busy and tourists are responsible to be perfectly respectful. Nearly all festivals in Bali are related to the Balinese Pawukon-Calendar which is different to other calendars by containing only 210 days. Most of the Balinese Festivals and Holidays depending on the Pawukon-calendar and moon phases are published by the Bali Government Tourism Office.
This important Hindu ceremony is celebrated every 210 days according ti the Pawukon Calendar. Galungan lasts for 10 days. During this period, the Balinese Hindu Gods visit the island to celebrate the victory of Dharma (Goodness) against Adharma (Wickedness). People go home to their village and families, houses are cleaned, new clothes are worn, and compounds are full of the smell of incense and good food, shared activity and a feeling of happiness.
The day before (penampahan) people work together in busy preparation. The men sacrifice pigs, and other animals, then prepare a shared offering feast including lawar (minced meat with vegetables and coconut) spicy “base gede” and “sate” sticks. Tall, tapered bamboo poles called penjor are intricately decorated and placed at the left side of each gate, lining the streets with beauty and grace. The woman weaves offerings to place in a special shrine beside each penjor, decorated with a long woven leaf of fabric panel called lamak.
Every part of the penjor, which represents spiritual determination, the decorations are made from natural materials that sustain life, such as coconut leaves, traditional cakes, coins, and yellow or white cloth. Penjor can be used at other celebration as well. At Galungan, one kind of long penjor and lamak indicate that someone in the household is newly married.
The day after Galungan is a time of relaxation. Many families go for picnics, visit and outings. The penjor will remain standing for 42 days, after which they are taken down, their decorations are burned and symbolically buried. The ten days of Galungan celebrations give visitors an authentic idea of what religion means to Balinese people. It is a great time to visit Bali.
Balinese Hindus believe that ten days after Galungan Day their ancestors return to paradise after dwelling on earth for ten days. This day called Kuningan, during this period offerings are given to the ancestors, ask for prosperity, protection, salvation, and guidance from Ida Sanghyang Widhi Wasa (Almighty God). One of the specialties in Hari Raya Kuningan is nasi kuning or yellow rice which is made specially for the offerings. This nasi kuning is a symbol of prosperity. Other articles for Kuningan ceremony are tamiang and endongan.
Tamiang made from coconut leaves, it’s shaped rounded. It’s symbolized of a shield to protect oneself in warfare. Tamiang is also a symbol of Dewata Nawasanga, nine sovereigns in the nine directions of the wind. Meanwhile, as it’s like a bag, endongan symbolize a provision bag, either, for the ancestors and for the people to ply in the future life. Ceremony or worship is done from about 6am and must be finished before noon as the energy of the universe is on the best circumstances and also due to the ancestors and gods returned to heaven in the afternoon.
To celebrate Balinese New Year known as Nyepi, the local people stay silent, fast and meditate. They do not use electricity, drive cars or bikes and are not allowed to walk on the roads. Even the airport is closed. For tourists, Nyepi can be a peaceful time to meditate and rest your busy mind for twenty-four hours. The Day of Silence is important and unique to the Balinese culture.
If you are here on Nyepi, please try to follow the Balinese custom of keeping silent. If you are in a hotel and you can’t live without electricity, close the curtain and don’t show any signs of light. If you do not wish to fast, please shop the day prior to Nyepi for food other necessities.
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