Occuring every 210 days, Galungan is one of the most important events for Balinese Hindus. Known as the 'Balinese Thanksgiving', the festival celebrates the victory of good (Dharma) over evil (Adharma), encouraging people to show gratitude to their ancestors and the creator of the universe. Gaalungan is the time when the ancestors are believed to revisit the world of the living. In honour of these spirit visitors the island is decorated in bamboo poles called penjor, covered in fruit, flowers, and coconut leaves; and small bamboo altars offer gifts to the spirits. A common offering are the Balinese cakes known as jaja, which are colored cakes made of fried rice dough, traditionally prepared and eaten on Galungan. A dance ceremony known as Ngelawang is performed in the villages as an exorcism of evil spirits; a divine protector in the form of a mythical beast performs the ceremony in the villager's homes and restores balance to each praying family. Preparations traditionally start three days before Galungan, and end ten days after. This is an interesting and colourful time to be in Bali and a great way to experience the local culture.
Date: 21-31 May 2014