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Penampahan Galungan, is a day before Galungan (a Christmas for Balinese). The word “Penampahan Galungan” derives from the word “tampah” which means “to slaughter” and “galungan” which means victory. So Penampahan Galungan is a day for Balinese to slay their Sad Ripu (six internal enemies, they are: kama (lust), loba (greed), krodha (anger), mada (drunkeness), moha (confusion) in order to achieve victory.
For six months Balinese engage with the battle of Dharma (Virtue) versus Adharma (Evil), and Penampahan Galungan is the last day of this great battle. On this day, Bhuta Amangkurat (King of negative force) comes to the world to temp Balinese. Amangkurat derives from the word “Mangku” which means “king”, “lord” or “master”. Bhuta Amangkurat temps human with the lust for power over others. If we were not in alert and weak, it would succeed in tempting us. On this day Bhuta Yadnya (offering for demon or other negative force) is held in Catuspata, (the houseyard), offering is distributed based on urip (special number for five direction, 4 for north, 5 for east, 7 for south, 9 for west and 8 for center) and direction, dedicated to Sang Tiga Bhuta Galungan (Three Evil force of Galungan which are Bhuta Galungan, Bhuta Dunggulan and Bhuta Amangkurat) in order to placate them so they will not disturb the human life.
But Penampahan Galungan is not just a day for ultimate struggle Dharma (Virtue) versus Adharma (Evil) but also a preparation day. On this day, Balinese are seen to be busily preparing offerings and cooking for the next day. While the women of the household have been busy for days before creating beautifully woven ‘banten‘ (offerings made from young coconut fronds), the men usually wake up well before dawn to join with their neighbours to slaughter a pig unlucky enough to be chosen to help celebrate this occasion. Then the finely diced pork is mashed to a pulp with a grinding stone, and moulded onto sate sticks that have been already prepared by whittling small sticks of bamboo. Chickens may also be chosen from the collection of free-range chickens that roam around the house compound.
Delicate combinations of various vegetables, herbs and spices are also prepared by the men to make up a selection of ‘lawar‘ dishes. While much of this cooking is for use in the offerings to be made at the family temple, by mid-morning, once all the cooking is done, it is time for the first of a series of satisfying feasts from what has been prepared. While the women continue to be kept busy with the preparations of the many offerings to be made at the family temple on the day of Galungan, the men also have another job to do this day, once the cooking is finished. A “penjor” the tall-artistically-decorated-bamboo-poles has to be made and stuck at every house-entrance adorn the along sides of the roads symbolizing prosperity.
With all those activities Penampahan Galungan will be a very busy day for Balinese. But there will always a joy in Penampahan Galungan because on the next day, (Galungan the day of victory) will be a great blessing and festivity for all Balinese.