Bali Culture – Galungan Festival
The lead up to Galungan
The preparations begin several days before the actual feast day.
Three days before Galungan – “Penyekeban” – families begin their preparations for Galungan. “Penyekeban” literally means “the day to cover up “, as this is the day when green bananas are covered up in huge clay pots to speed their ripening.
Two days before Galungan – “Penyajahan” – marks a time of introspection for Balinese, and more prosaically, a time to make the Balinese cakes known as jaja.
A day before Galungan – “Penampahan”, or slaughter day – Balinese slaughter the sacrificial animals that will go into the temple or altar offerings.
The Day of Galungan
On the day itself, the Balinese return to their ancestral villages to pray at the temple and make offerings to the spirits. Women are seen carrying the offerings on their heads, while men bring palm fronds.
The Ngelawang is performed in the villages. Ngelawang is an exorcism ceremony performed by a “barong” – a divine protector in the form of a mythical beast.
The barong is invited into houses as he makes his way through the village. His presence is meant to restore the balance of good and evil in a house. The residents of the house will pray before the dancing barong, who will afterwards give a piece of his fur as a keepsake
The day after Galungan, Balinese visit their families and closest friends.
The tenth day after “Kuningan” marks the end of Galungan, and is believed to be the day when the spirits ascend back to heaven. This day is marked with offerings of yellow rice (Nasi Kunning).
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