What will you see when you visit Bali during Galungan and Kuningan period? I believe your answer will be Penjor (eight-meter-high bamboo poles festooned with bamboo decorations which are put over roadways or pathways during Galungan or Kuniangan). Penjor will dominate your view wherever you take a look at. It is so beautiful view. But have you ever heard about the actual meaning of it?
Penjor is made as symbol of prosperity. Balinese make it every Galungan in order to show their respect to God because of His blessing and grace Balinese are able to enjoy prosperity. You can see the proof from the accessories of the Penjor itself. You will find sweet potato, rice, banana, coconut, and jaja Uli and jaja Dendeng (kinds of traditional food, always crispy and are made from sticky rice) hanging on the bamboo and are assumed as the offerings to God showing the gratitude of the Balinese.
Further more, Penjor is also the representation of Dragon named Ananthaboga and Basuki. It is also believe as the symbol of Mount. Why should be said as the symbol of Dragon and Mount? If you can imagine Penjor, the shape of it is similar with dragon. The base point of bamboo is the body of the dragon while the end of the bamboo is similar to the tail of it. Importantly, Ananthaboga is a symbol of soil, while Basuki is a symbol of safety. It is believe can provide healing of illness.
Nowadays, Penjor is not just used in Galungan and Kuningan holiday or temples anniversaries. It is also used as a decoration whenever there are unreligious ceremonies held in Bali. For instance, ceremony held for entertainment. Because of the variation in term of function, there are actually three kinds of Penjor. The first is Ceremonial Penjor, unreligious Penjor, and the last Galungan Penjor.
Ceremonial Penjor is a Penjor which is made when there is a temple anniversary held in a temple. The characteristic of this Penjor is exposed by coconut, banana, Jaja uli and jaja dendeng, and sweet potato. This Penjor characteristic is quite the same with the characteristic of Galungan penjor. The difference of Galungan and Ceremonial Penjor is shown by the time they are made. Ceremonial Penjor is made when a temple anniversary is held, while Galungan Penjor is only made when Galungan day comes. And the last kind of Penjor is decorated Penjor. This kind of Penjor is only made to beautify a place. This Penjor is not completed by coconut, sweet potato, jaja uli and jaja gina, ect.