Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Balinese Hindus prepare for ‘Galungan’

The jovial spirit is in the air as Balinese Hindus gear up to celebrate Galungan, a major religious festival that falls every 210 days, this Wednesday.

Galungan celebrates the victory of Dharma (virtue) over Adharma (vice) and is deeply rooted in local legend about the triumph of a heavenly army led by Lord Indra in a battle against the demonic king of Mayadanawa.

The days leading up to the celebration see families making preparations in their homes, with men getting pigs or chickens ready for sacrifice, while the women are busy making cakes and offerings of flowers and fruit for ceremonies.

Decorated bamboo poles, or penjor, are being installed in front of every house, forming a line along streets throughout the city.

Housewife Nyoman Padmini and her husband, Wayan Darsana, residents of Pemecutan Kaja village, have been preparing for the festival since Friday.

“Balinese families get very busy ahead of a major religious festival like Galungan, and so do we, making offerings, installing penjor,” said Padmini, who was assisted by her six children in the preparations.

She said her husband, a temple priest, was also busy making preparations at the nearby temple.

“We will get even busier prior to Kuningan since the celebration requires more details in the preparation,” she said, referring to another major religious festival that falls 10 days after Galungan.

She added that ornaments for Kuningan were different from that of Galungan.

In the Galungan festival, which lasts for 10 days and is followed by Kuningan, the deified ancestors descend to their former homes and are welcomed with prayers and offerings.

On Sunday, many people were seen carrying items for Galungan on their motorcycles after shopping at traditional markets, including in Badung traditional market located in the center of downtown Denpasar.

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