Galungan – A Brief Overview
The ancient Balinese calendar is a complex cycle where many days have specific holy significances. The Balinese community will celebrate Galungan on Wednesday November 29, 2006, which in western terms can be likened to Christmas in the fact that family members gather to pray, eat and socialize together.
Galungan is perhaps the most important Balinese religious holidays for followers of the Hindu faith. The celebrations for Galungan are basically spread across a three-day period where a series of symbolic ceremonies are carried out all over the island. As this is an extraordinarily long public holiday, most Balinese return home to their ancestral villages to prepare for the festivities. Despite the intense workload the mood is invariably jovial.
The Balinese believe that during Galungan the Gods and deified ancestors descend upon earth for a period of 10 days. During this time numerous ceremonies take place, offerings are made, prayers expressed and traditional food cooked. Certain offerings are also presented to the spirits of the underworld in an effort to maintain a harmonious balance between all forces of the physical world.
The day following Galungan is an opportunity to visit relatives and seek forgiveness for any previous wrongdoings by praying communally for blessing by God Almighty. According to Hindu belief, man faces a continuous battle between the positive and negative elements of life. Hinduism teaches how to resist what is evil and make a concentrated effort to utilize the positive energy from within.
Kuningan Day falls exactly 10 days after Galungan and is the final reminder of moral responsibility and the victory of good over evil. Religious ceremonies with offerings take place before midday where Hindu followers to pray for inner tranquillity and protection as well as expressing thanks for God’s blessing. Kuningan actually marks the end of a series of festive rituals where all the spirits and deified ancestors return to the heavens above.