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Home » Religion

Behind Galungan Holyday  

by on Wednesday, 14 October 20094 Comments | 3,962 views

On Wednesday, Balinese celebrated Galungan Holyday, a holyday to commemorate the victory of Dharma (virtue) over Adharma (evil). This holyday is considered the pinnacle of Balinese struggle to subdue the negative force of evil, and what is called evil here is the sad ripu (six internal enemies), they are kama (lust), loba (greed), krodha (anger), mada (drunkeness), moha (confusion) and matsarya (envy). It is an inward struggle, a struggle to free our mind from the influence of negative force that at the end leads us to do various bad deeds.

Galungan at Penglipuran Village

Though this struggle is carried out everyday but the ultimate battle occur during three-day period before Galungan, when three personifications of negative force come to the world successively, they are known as Kala-tiganing Galungan – which are Bhuta Galungan, Bhuta Dunggulan and Bhuta Amangkurat.

The struggle begins on Sunday, when the first personification of negative force Bhuta Galungan comes to the world. On this day, Balinese celebrate the Penyekeban Galungan Holyday. The word “penyekeban” derived from the word “sekeb” which means “to cover up,” this word signifies the nature of enclosure or restraint. Sundarigama a sacred Balinese scripture describes this day as “den prayitna anjekung jnana nirmala, lamakane den kasurupan” which means “the day for self restrain in order not to be influenced by the evil force”. Penyekeban day for Balinese is always a day for cultivating self restraint (as the name of this day suggest) since it is an essential weapon for fighting the Adharma.


On Monday, the struggle is going to the higher level since the stronger personification of negative force, Bhuta Dunggulan, now mingles with the human being. Balinese celebrate this day as Penyajaan Galungan, some said that the word “penyajaan” is derived from the word “jaja” means cookies, but in the context of the struggle between Dharma and Adharma, the word “penyajaan” can also signify “activity to strengthen the determination.” For Balinese the best way to streghten the determination in fighting the negative forces is increased self-control through meditation as mentioned in the ancient text of Sundarigama, this text describes this day as “Pangastawaning sang ngamong yoga samadhi.” This means “the day for those who practice yoga and meditation”.


On the Tuesday, the last day of this great battle, Bhuta Amangkurat (King of negative force) comes to the world to temp Balinese. Amangkurat derives from the word “Mangku” which means “king”, “lord” or “master”. Bhuta Amangkurat temps human with the lust for power over others. Balinese celebrate this day as Penampahan Galungan. The word “Penampahan Galungan” derives from the word “tampah” which means “to slaughter” and “galungan” which means victory. So Penampahan Galungan is a day for Balinese to slay their Sad Ripu (six internal enemies, they are: kama (lust), loba (greed), krodha (anger), mada (drunkeness), moha (confusion) and matsarya (envy) in order to achieve victory, that will be pompously celebrated on the Wednesday as Galungan.

I am very much indebted to Mr. I Nyoman Sadra for his valuable insight on the meaning of Penyekeban, Penyajaan, and Penampahan Galungan. My appreciation is surely not enough; but unfortunately, I have nothing to offer than my indebtedness

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