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Bali Blog - Article About Bali Holiday Island

Bali Island of Endless Festivals Island

3 September 2008

Having organized an elaborate arts festival last June-July, on this 20 August 2008 the Balinese community (Hindu) celebrate their solemn Galungan Festival. It denotes a festival of the earth lasting for ten days. All villages throughout Bali Island will become merry and bright. Prayers and the scent of incense combine in the atmosphere of Bali invoking prosperity for all creatures on earth.

Celebrated every 210 days falling on Buda (Wednesday) Kliwon Dungulan, Galungan can be said to be the most grandiose Hindu festivity. Firstly, it goes for ten days and is preceded and followed by processions. Secondly, the celebration is marked with the setting up of various paraphernalia at temples and shrines and each house compound entrance. The typical icon for this festivity is penjor or a bamboo pole filled with a variety of cakes, fruits, tubers, coconut and white-yellow piece of cloth as an expression of gratitude for crops they obtain. Thirdly, they perform comprehensive worship both for the Almighty God and ancestral souls.

Myth logically, the Galungan celebration represents the victory of Dharma (virtue) against Adharma (evil). It is said that there was a cruel king named Mayadenawa. During his rule no subject was allowed to pay homage or organize any ritual. In other words, all subjects had no freedom to perform their religious practices. Similar mythology is also recounted in the manuscript by Jaya Kasunu where his forefathers could not rule the kingdom any longer. Based on the revelation he received, it was caused by all subjects who ignored their religious duties. Ever since then, he instructed his subjects to carry out their previous religious duty by holding rituals. Both the death of Mayadenawa and coronation of Jaya Kasunu marked the re-awakening of religious practice to the path of Dharma.

On the day of Galungan, all families worship at their own temple, village temple and present offerings at their property and land. Additionally, they also invite their ancestral souls to come down to earth for ten days and celebrate together. Having worshipped they visit their relatives and neighbors. Preparation for worship is made in the early morning because they hope to worship at all places where they should. All motorbikes and vehicles are also conferred with offerings. Therefore, on that day during your island excursion you may encounter cars with ritual paraphernalia made from young coconut leaf. Neat and artistic penjors at the village you are passing through will give you a ‘seasonal’ spectacle and unique experience on this island. If other Asian destinations have at least one event or festival every month, Bali has much more than that. Armed with the artistic talent and pursuance to their religious teaching, they hold various festivities and celebrations. Besides, almost all villages and hamlets in Bali have art and gamelan troupes and there are some important days to hold regular festivity. On one occasion they may organize an art festival, while on another they organize temple festival. The latter is a regular event that may be celebrated once in 210 days or a year. On that account, there would be more than twelve festivals held within a year, both of religious and non-religious nature. This is one of the reasons why you need to visit Bali more frequently, to witness the endless festivals on this island.



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