Galungan and Kuningan Day; Balinese Culture Events

Bali Travel GuideFestivals & Events
Galungan and Kuningan in Bali
Image by Alit Suarnegara from Pixabay

Galungan and Kuningan Day; Balinese Culture Events

Galungan and Kuningan are both important and vibrant religious Balinese festivals celebrated on the Indonesian island of Bali. These Balinese festivals are deeply rooted in Balinese Hinduism and are marked by a series of rituals, offerings, and festive activities.

Galungan marks the victory of dharma (good) over adharma (evil) and is celebrated to honor the spirits of ancestors. It is celebrated every 210 days according to the Balinese Pawukon calendar.

Three days before Galungan, the festival begins with Penyekeban. People begin to prepare the fruits on Penyekeban. The offering will make use of these fruits. In order for the fruits to be fully ripe for offering on the day of Galungan, they will be preserved, or disekeb. In addition to that, Balinese Hindus also get ready to exercise self-control over undesirable things.

Two days before, is called Penyajaan. People will prepare a customary Balinese food on this day. Of all, tape and Jaje uli are the most well-liked. Made with cooked sticky rice combined with coconut milk and other ingredients pounded till the texture becomes mushy, Jaje Uli is fashioned like a cake. Additionally, sticky rice that has undergone fermentation is used to make tape.

The day before, is called Penampahan, when families prepare offerings and slaughter a sacrificial animal for various ceremonial dishes. The actual Galungan day involves praying at the family temple, making offerings, and visiting relatives. Traditional Balinese dishes like lawar (a mixed vegetable and meat dish) and babi guling (suckling pig) are commonly prepared and shared among family and community members.

Galungan and Kuningan in Bali
Image by Anita from Pixabay

Balinese families begin the preparation of the iconic Penjor, a tall,gracefully curved bamboo pole that is elaborately decorated and a distinctive feature of festivals in Bali, particularly during Galungan and other Hindu ceremonies. The penjor is considered a symbol of prosperity and gratitude. A long bamboo pole is adorned with a variety of decorations, including young coconut leaves, rice stalks, fruits, and flowers. During Galungan, Balinese families place it in front of their homes as a gesture of thanks for the prosperity bestowed upon them. The swaying motion of the penjor is believed to symbolize the dynamic balance between positive and negative forces in the universe.

Galungan day – Praying at the temple
This is the culmination of Galungan; Balinese families dress in their finest traditional attire to attend temple prayers and bring offerings to share and savor after the ceremonies. On this day, people remember the lengthy genealogy of their ancestors and the wonderful tale they are a part of. Reunited, the Balinese recommit to improving themselves every day and striving to make tomorrow a better day. On Galungan, the most fascinating aspect of Bali’s spiritual culture is on display as all of the local temples are packed and colorful.

Galungan and Kuningan
Image by Roberto Rendon from Unsplash

The day after is called Manis Galungan. This day is dedicated to spending time with family and visiting the extended family who may live in other parts of Bali. The roads are busy as many people are travelling and visiting sights together.

Kuningan, which falls ten days after Galungan, marks the end of the Galungan celebration. On this day, Balinese Hindu believe that the spirits of their ancestors return to heaven. Traditional preparation for Kuningan begins on the day of Galungan itself. Families are busy preparing special offerings called ‘canang sari’ and other intricate offerings made from young coconut leaves that take the form of birds, conical containers, and more.

A day after Kuningan is called Manis Kuningan, where people spend their time with family and loved ones, mostly in their hometown. There are no religious ceremonies during this day, yet you can see the festivities from people celebrating the rest of the holiday and time off with their friends and family.

Both Balinese cultural events are a time of great significance for the Balinese people. These Balinese festivals are a colorful and joyful celebration of their spirituality, rich cultural traditions, and the importance of maintaining harmony between the seen and the unseen worlds.

When is Galungan and Kuningan?

Year Galungan Kuningan
2024 Wednesday, February 28th

Wednesday, September 25th

Saturday, March 9th

Saturday, October 5th

2025 Wednesday, April 23rd

Wednesday, November 19th

Saturday May 3rd

Saturday, November 29th

If you are traveling to Bali at this amazing time, you will have the opportunity to see numerous exquisite rituals and experience the festive atmosphere. Make careful to find out from your Balinese friends how you can participate in the festivities and enter the public temples. With all of the lovely penjor items hanging on the streets, along with the music and festivities, it will be impossible to miss.


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