Balinese Galungan and Kuningan Celebration



balinese galungan celebration

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Galungan is one of the various types of festivities celebrated by Hindus in Bali. For this celebration, Balinese Hindus perform various religious activities.


Galungan is a special day to celebrate the victory of the Dharma (goodness) against the Adharma (evil) through the blessing of Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa or God Almighty.


It is celebrated by Hindus every 210 days according to Balinese calendar calculations, called “Buddha Kliwon Dungulan” (Wednesday). The celebration is held for 10 consecutive days.


Galungan itself comes from the old Javanese language which means ‘prevail’. And also the word of “Galungan” has similar mining to “Dungulan” which means “triumph”. Galungan celebration has also another meaning which is to commemorate the creation of the universe and all its contents.


On this day the Hindus will head to the temples around their neighborhood. Balinese people who are Hindus will wear traditional clothes with white colors. Women will bring offerings in their heads. For Hindus who have died family members and have been buried, they must bring offerings to the grave.


When you are on holiday in Bali while the Hindus celebrating Galungan then you will find many “penjor” decorations on the side of the road or in front of people house. Penjor itself is a bamboo pole that rises to eight meters high and equipped with coconut leaves and ornaments from crops such as fruits, rice, corn, coconut, leaves and others.


galungan penjor

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Installing penjor itself has a meaning to represent gratitude for the prosperity and welfare that has been given by Hyang Widhi Wasa (The God). The end of Galungan Day Celebration is Kuningan Day. Galungan Day itself is believed to be the day when the gods descended to earth and Kuningan Day is the day when the gods returned to heaven.


The Galungan celebration will always be rousing. So for those who are on vacation in Bali and coinciding with the Galungan day celebration, can see the ceremony lively.





balinese kuningan celebration

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The Kuningan Day is celebrated every six months, exactly 10 days after Galungan Day. Kuningan falls on Saniscara (Saturday) Kliwon Wuku Kuningan. “Wuku” is a calculation form of the Javanese and Balinese calendars.


The word Kuningan derived from the word “kauningan” which literally means getting closer to God with self-reflection, so we will always be safe from dangerous things in our life. Kuningan celebration itself means that we as humans promise ourselves, nature and God to always win the dharma (goodness) and defeat the adharma (evil).


When celebrating Kuningan, Hindus, especially in Bali, make “upakara” or offerings that are full of symbols and meanings. One of them is “tamiang”, which is a symbol of protection and rotation of the world. There are also “endongan”, which means supplies to survive in wading through life.


On this day the Hindus also make yellow rice which means prosperity. First of all, this dish will be presented as offerings thanking God for all the blessings given. Then, continue with eating together.


yellow rice offering in kuningan day

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The Hindus believe that the worship process on Kuningan Day should be carried out before 12.00 at noon because the energy of the universe rises from the morning and reaches the peak at midday. However, this does not apply in all places because some temples still hold prayers at night. The most important thing is the sincere intention and sincerity to do self-introspection.


To interpret Galungan and Kuningan as a dharma victory against the adharma does not have to be like in the physical battle situation. Victory here is interpreted as a victory against all the chaos of the mind as well as to fight selfishness and badness in oneself. Uniting spiritual power in order to get a clear mind and conviction is an attempt to win away from the ego.