One of Bali’s major festivals is Galungan. It reminded me of our Christmas celebrations so I thought that now was a good time to tell you about it. Galungan is a time when the spirits of ancestors return to earth to live with the family. They return for five days before the festival and don’t leave until ten days after the festival. The families are very busy for a month before making decorations, cooking rice cakes and collecting incense.
Our stay on Lembongan Island earlier in the year coincided with the festival. On our early morning walks through the local village we could see all this activity taking place. Tall bamboo poles with simple decorations are placed outside the entrance to every house creating a festive atmosphere.
These poles are called panjors. They are made by weaving coconut leaves into the bamboo and they are then decorated with fruit, cakes and flowers.
On the actual day of the festival, everyone dresses in their best clothes and jewellery and the offerings that they have been busy making are then offered to the family shrine. The married women then visit the shrines of their parents. Later in the day, everyone gathers in the lanes to be entertained by the barong- a mythical beast that protects them and the musicians that follow.
Where have you enjoyed local festivals?
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La Festa di San Giorgio
The Fishermen of Sciacca
Salina’s Caper Festival
The Seige of Canelli