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Taman, Bali, Indonesia
I am just a 38 years old fellow from a small village named Taman, on the island of Bali. There is nothing that is too special about me. I am not a person with degree but I always love to have opportunity to learn new things in my life. I am working just as a driver and tour guide for Bali and I have been happy doing it for more than 16 years now and it might be the only things that I can do for the rest of my life.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Galungan & Kuningan Festival on Bali island!

Mythological background

Once, in around 6th century there was a battle between The God Indra and the evil king of Mayadenawa who said to have ruled over Bali prohibited the worship of the gods, destroyed shrines and tried to wipe out all religion and as the result Bali fell upon evil days. All the gods were very angry and told Indra to eliminate the evil king. After a series of battles, Indra finally killed Mayadenawa and the victory over Mayadenawa is the source for the important Galungan celebration.

Among the many holidays in the Balinese Hindu, the most prominent are undoubtedly those of Galungan and Kuningan. It takes place every 210 days according to the Balinese calendar, Galungan falls every Wednesday and Kuningan falls every Saturday, 10 days after Galungan. Colorful offerings are made for the festival, temple are well dressed up with batik, white and yellow cloth, Penjors are made and place on the front of the house gates and temples which are arching the villages roads.

Penyekeban Galungan

Is on Sunday before Galungan, the green bananas are sealed in a huge clay pots and on tops the rice husk fire burns. The heat treatments ripen them quickly. We do this only when we do not have enough bananas ripe for the festival, as we need lots of bananas for the Galungan offerings.

Penyajaan Galungan

It comes from a word “Jaja” means cake. It is on Monday before Galungan, where the women are busy in making the colorful rice cakes for the offerings. They are then being placed on the woven young coconut leaf and decorated with various fresh flowers. All the different offerings are being sorted and gathered for each of the shrines in our family temple and the local village temples. They are all well prepared for Wednesday’s festival.

View more photos of Penyajaan

In the afternoon, the men are busy to prepare the pig that they are going to slaughter the next morning on Penampahan day. A few days before, people have gathered themselves into a small group to share the pork of a pig that might be 100 kilogram of weight. The group normally contains of at least 10 people. They surely have been looking around for the pig in the village that they are going to buy and shared for the festival. When all being set-up, the group catch the pig in the afternoon around 5 PM for the early morning butchering. A couple of them getting into the pigsty tie the pig while the others are circling around to give hand. They tie up the mouth, the front and back legs with a rope that is made of a thin split young bamboo for the scaling. The owner then gives the pig a small blessing ceremony before the scaling. Basically, it is a way for the owner to ask for a good weight of their pig so they can get better money. After scaling the pig, it is then being tied up strongly by a tree, so that it will not run away at night as they are going to be butchered the next early morning. The nighttime is a bit different now as you are hearing lots of noise from the many pig around your village and your neighboring villages. I can imagine that all those pigs are having such a nightmare for the night. They all said,”I wish that I wasn’t born as a pig”. They are slandering the whole night and it makes us hardly get some sleep the entire night. I am sure that it is also happening to those Bali bombers who have been punished to death by the judges for what they have done to our island. They must be slandering us overnight of their nightmares before the execution day that will come to their boring life. What can they do? All have been judged. A judgment day!

Penampahan Galungan

Is on Tuesday before Galungan. It comes from word “Tampah”means slaughtering animal. For the Galungan festival it is mostly pig. Starting from around 3 AM, villages are breaking out into scream of pigs are being slaughtered for the festival. They are screaming and screaming but nobody care, sharp knives are cutting their throat with a few words from the butcherer, “I wish that you will be reborn as a better god’s creature in your next reincarnation”. It is the last words that they hear before the blood pouring out into big bucket, they fall down helplessly. After they sure that the pig is dead, they burn dried coconut leaf for burning the fur of the pig, cleaning them up and chopping them into pieces for everyone in the group.

View more photos for Penampahan Day

They bring home their share and cooking them for the morning feasts and offerings. They make lawar, a spicy hash made of finely ground pork, young long bean, young JackFruit or papaya and dozens of spices. Sticks satay are made for the offering and grilled on the fire that is built from coconut shell. We also make sausages from our pork, soup, and pepesan chopped meat with different spices that are wrapped in the green banana leaf and steamed. Our morning are busy cooking all the above for the Galungan offerings. Around 1 PM or 2 PM, we are very much done with our work.

After having our lunch from what we have cooked in the morning, men are cutting the bamboo for our Penjor, climbing up the palm tree to get the young leaf for the penjor’s decoration. It is a hard job to do especially after your stomach full of good food but we have to do it. The whole afternoon we spent for making up our penjor, make it as nice as possible, hoping that we are not having the worst one in the village. After the penjor is done, we hang whatever we grow in our garden like banana, sweet potato, corn, rice, coconut and rice cakes to thank to the god for what he has blessed in your life, in term of food stock. It is symbolizing the prosperity. A small shrine of a woven bamboo is placed on the Penjor about our height to make us easy to put the offerings. We then place the penjor on the front of our house gate. Our village roads are arched by the colorful penjor from every house, a wonderful view of very festive days.
We cut the grass around our house, burn the trash and make our area clean for the festival.

We dress up our family temple with beautiful clothes, putting up the temple umbrellas, banners and hang the Cili, a woven young coconut leaf that is made like goddesses symbol of fertility and prosperity. All are well prepared for the upcoming visit of the ancestral spirits.

Galungan Day

Wednesday, it is the highlight of the festival where it is the time for prayer, family gathering, and offerings, all temples ring with merriment. Early morning, we are busy to place all the offerings on every shrine of our family temple, main family temple, clan temple, and the village temples. The roads are busy with people carrying offerings on their head for the temples. Everyone, including kids are well dressed up with their traditional outfits for the prayer. Prayers are made in every temple, continued by holy water blessing. Our holy ancestors descend from the heaven, receiving our devotion and blessing all of us with prosperity, peace and harmony.

View more photos of Galungan Day

Manis Galungan

On this day, we are a bit relaxed after going through all the ceremony’s preparations and prayers. It is a time to visit friends, relatives or just hanging around and making the roads jammed with cars and motorbikes. It is show time, time to show your look and looking at people look along the roads. Tourist’s sites are flooded with families, youngsters, and another day of spending and spending your budget especially if you have kids. People are selling toys everywhere that make your kids crying out.

Kuningan Day

It takes place 10 days after Galungan and marks the end of the festival. We still make more offerings, as the ancestors return to heaven.


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