On the 26th of December one of the most important Balinese holidays will take place, it’s called Galungan. A holiday that returns every 210 days and celebrated in every region of Bali.
The Balinese word Galungan means victory or battle. It is said to be the day goodness won the battle against badness. Galungan day is the time for ancestral spirits of deceased relatives to visit earth. The spirits will then return to visit their former homes and it is up to the Balinese people to be hospitable and welcome their ancestors through prayers and offers. On Kuningan, the last day of this holiday, these spirits will leave earth again.
This holiday is a sequence of celebrations, each day has another name and is set on a different activities.
3 days before Galungan – Penyekeban – Cooking of bananas for offerings
Penyekeban is the day preparations for Galungan will start. On this day green bananas will be covered up in huge clay pots to speed their ripening.
2 days before Galungan – Penyajaan – Making of Jaja for offerings
The activity of this day is the making of the coloured Balinese rice cakes, also called Jaja. These cakes are used in offerings and eaten on Galungan.
1 day before Galungan – Penampahan – Sacrificing of pigs or chicken for feasts
The day before Galungan, pigs and chickens are blessed and ceremonially slaughtered to make food for Galungan day.
Galungan day – Praying at the temple
On this day, Balinese wear their finest traditional clothes and attend prayers in the temple with family. They will bring offerings to share and enjoy with their families after praying.
1 day after Galungan – Manis Galungan – Visiting Family
This day is dedicated to spending time with family and visiting extended family living further apart. Roads will be busy as many people will travel to family and visit sights.
10 days after Galungan – Kuningan – Prayers, offerings, spirits return to heaven
Kuningan, which will take place on the 5th of January, is the day the spirits will leave earth and return to heaven.
11 days after Galungan – Manis Kuningan – Fun
On this day there are no ceremonies, which means it is the day to have fun, be with family and loved ones and enjoy their presence.