The first time I visited Bali was at the end of March 2013. The date is critical, because it coincided with one of the best Balinese local festivals, which is simply named, the Galungan. I have previously written about other colorful festivals in the South East Asia region, namely Masskara, Panagbenga and Thaipusam, so a post on Galungan is highly apt.
Indonesia is mostly a Muslim country, but the island of Bali is unique with its Hindu majority and hence remarkably different customs from the rest of the country. One of the factors that captures the general tourist attention is the abundance of hindu temples, nearly 20000 of them, spread out all over the island. And on a religious occasion like Galungan, the entire island comes to life like a cultural kaleidoscope.
The Galungan lasts for 3 days, and is a public holiday in Bali. Yes, it is a public holiday for all the 3 days! Fret not, you will still be able to find essential services, and I noticed that many of the restaurants and bars preferred to stay open.
Interestingly, Galungan is celebrated every 210 days, thanks to the Balinese calendar which only has 210 days! And it celebrates the victory of good versus evil. It is also said that ancestral spirits visit houses on this day, and carries a high dose of auspiciousness along with it. Despite the reasons, Galungan remains a very beautiful occasion, and is unmistakably noticeable throughout Bali thanks to the colourful offerings, even-more-colorful costumes, and elaborate temple ceremonies.
The 3 days of Galungan are as follows:
1) Day 1 (Penampahan Galungan): People start preparing for Galungan, whether it is preparing food or temple offerings.
2) Day 2: Actual day of the Galungan. All of the pictures in this blog post are from Day 2, or the main day of the Galungan.
3) Day 3: Galungan Manis: Kind of like a family after party. Families get together and do communal stuff, like going out, having giant lunches etc. There is nothing much touristy about this day.
Check this link for the next Galungan dates. Have you booked your flights to Bali yet?
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