Galungan Starts in Bali Today
Today in Bali is the beginning of Galungan. Occurring once in every 210 days in the Balinese cycle of days, Galungan marks the beginning of the most important recurring religious ceremony that is celebrated by all Balinese at the same time. During the Galungan period the deified ancestors of the family descend to their former homes. They must be suitably entertained and welcomed, and prayers and offerings must be made for them. For those families who have ancestors that have not yet been cremated but are still buried in the village cemetery, they must make offerings at the graves.
Although Galungan falls on a Wednesday, most Balinese will begin Galungan the day before. This is a time when the family is busy preparing offerings and cooking for the next day. You will find the women have been busy for days before the day of Galungan creating beautifully woven banten. While the women continue with preparations, the men prepare a long bamboo pole – penjor. This is made to decorate the entrance to the family compound. By late Tuesday afternoon all over Bali you can see these decorative poles.
On Wednesday, the day of Galungan, most Balinese try to return to their own ancestral home at some stage during the day. This is a very special day for families when offerings are made to God and to the family ancestors who have come back to rest at this time in their family temple. As well as the family temple, visits are made to the village temple with offerings. The day after Galungan is a holiday when most Balinese visit friends.