Galungan in Bali

Galungan is a ten-day holiday in Bali, the most important holiday for Balinese Hindus. Galungan occurs every 210 days, and it lasts for 10 days, which makes it one of the more difficult holidays to track. This summer there is a Galungan that begins tomorrow: July 6, lasting through July 16.

During this holiday the spirits of deified Hindu ancestors return home, to Bali, and therefore must be entertained with a big celebration thrown by their living relatives. If your ancestors have not been cremated but are instead at the cemetery, then you visit them there and provide offerings.

Penjors, large bamboo decorations, are placed at the front entrance to the home. The ones that I have seen are about eight meters long, with bamboo leaves and sometimes food offerings attached. I asked, and an eight-meter bamboo pole costs about $3 USD (25,000 Rp).

Many Balinese people work on parts of the island different than where they were raised, so they try to return home to their village so as not to miss their ancestors. Today the villa where I am staying has no workers; they have all returned home to celebrate with their ancestors.

Galungan, Bali: Penjor in front of villa in Sanur.

Galungan, Bali: Hindu offering.

Galungan, Bali: Penjor, made of bamboo.