The Galungan and Kuningan Day

Galungan and Kuningan Holy Days are significant sacred days for Balinese. This sacred day that falls each six months or 210 days on the Hindu’s calendar, this time being will fall on Wednesday, 14 and 24 January. Hindu members celebrate Galungan as anniversary of dharma’s victory against adharma, the goodness victory on evilness.

            On Galungan day, a merry nuance will tinge in Bali Penjor, a bamboo pole decorated with yellowish coconut leaf, rice and fruits, set on in front of the house and street border. Penjor symbolizes the mountain, holiness, fertility and prosperity. Penjor is set as a grateful sign to God who contributes life and prosperity existence resources.

            Besides its religious aspect, Penjor is also spouts the esthetic aspect. Penjor setting on the street border on Galungan day make Bali’s nuance.  Before, Penjor was only set at the time of Galungan nadi, which is Galungan that falls on the full moon.  Now, Penjor is set on each Galungan day, because Galungan is a special day.

            The day before Galungan, which is Tuesday is named Penampahan or Nampah day.  Nampah means slaughtering the animal, usually pork and small animals such as chicken and ducks. The slaughtering activity is carried out in-groups of about 20 persons or more, or individually at their own homes. This meat, besides being a sacrific to God, can also be consumed at parties or enjoyed with relatives and family. People who don’t slaughter animals, can buy meat for Galungan preparation.

            On Galungan the Balinese Hindu offers the offering at the family temple, Pura Desa ( Village Temple ), and other great temple in Bali, the praying execution held sacredly. The next morning is called Umanis Galungan, when Hindu members visit their relatives or relax at tourist places. Children’s entertainment centers are usually crowded on Umanis Galungan day, full with children wearing their new costumes, as a part of Holy day’s cheerfulness.

            Ten days after Galungan, on Saturday Kliwon wuku Kuningan, Hindu members also celebrated another sacred day called Kuningan day, which is the series of Galungan Day. On Kuningan Day, the members also prays and travels to tourism spots, but not as crowded as Galungan.

            An interesting habit on Galungan or Kuningan day, especially for village children, is watching barong dance around the village.

            This Barong dance is usually danced a special sites on temple or stages. However, on great day like Galungan, the dance is danced in their front of the house or small shop on the street. This dance called Ngelawang, which is regularly performed for about 5 – 10 minutes, from one place to another, and paid by the owner of the house, the cost is around Rp. 5000,-.

            The significant point of Ngelawang is not the mount of payment and performance duration, but an entertainment that symbolizes an effort to purify the village area. Year ago ngelawang was held to purify the village territory and tranquilize villager’s feelings and spirit after a disaster took place. Ngelawang on this connotation was held in Kuta, Legian, after the bomb-blast 12 October 2002. If there are no significant incident, ngelawang becomes an entertainment and the continuation of arts tradition.          


The following are some holy days to be celebrated before, on and after Galungan Day on Wednesday.

Sugihan Jawa and Bali

            There are two kinds of Sugihan Holy Day, which are for both physical and spiritual purification. Firstly, Sugihan Pangenten (Sugihan Jawa),which will be celebrated on Thusday,8th January 2004, is a day of purification of bhuwana agung (universe) and sacred sites (temple, ancestral merajan temple, and houses) by offering sesajen,usually flowers, to honor deities and ancestors. Secondly, Sugihan Bali is celebrated on Friday,9th January 2004, by holding a ritual and asking for tirtha penglukatan (a means of cleansing) given by a ‘pemangku’(priest)


            On this day, all implements needed to celebrate Galungan Holy Day are prepared, by performing a process to mature fruits and starting to cook variety of food and delicacies dedicated to Galungan Holy Day.


            This event, inviting Hindus to master or subvert physical cravings towards promoting vigilance, patience, holiness, and closeness to Ida Sang Hyang Widhi (God Almighty)


            Penampahan Galungan, which falls on Tuesday, is a busy occasion to survive against Sang kala Tiga Amangkurat, the dark power trying to provoke the human spirit. On this day, people are to slaughter pigs, nampah celeng, for sacrifice, The meat is then used to make sesaji foods such as lawar chopped mead and satay. In the evening, maprayascita and Bhuta Yadnya rites are carried out by placing the sesaji in courtyards and houses and beside weapons or daily-work tools. A penjor is then placed in of houses.


            Galungan is the peak event, falling on Wednesday. It reflects the victory of Dharma (Truth) in fight against Adharma (Evil). The prepared sesaji is dedicated to Ida Sang Hyang Widhi, followed by common prayer in the ancestral temple, merajan or pura. The philosophical value of Galungan is to uphold Dharma with day-long prayers and pesantian, reading or melodically citing sacred songs, taken from the wiracarita sacred verses, Mahabharata and Ramayana. By interpreting the sacred verses, Hindus people receive guidance towards keeping Dharma (virtue) through the ups and downs of economic and political crises.

Manis Galungan

            Manis galungan day people visit others, usually family members, before 12.00 o’clock. Some people, mainly young couples, spend time and tourist attractions.

Pemaridan Guru

            Pemaridan Guru, is a day of self-purification both physically and spiritually, followed by nyurud or asking for yadnya in the from of Guru’s rice cone as a gesture of gaining bestowal from Bhatara Hyang Guru deity.


            Ulihan day when deities go back to their respective site in Heaven, while the following day Monday 19th January 2004 is characterized as Pemacekan Agung, aimed to let Sang Bhuta Galungan’s spirit and entourage go back to their site of origin.


Friday is the day of Penampahan Kuningan, an occasion when Balinese again prepare Sesaji for Kuningan Day. People believe that during Kuningan Holy Day, often called Tumpek Kuningan, Dewa and Pitara gods again bless people, animals, and the natural environment, with waranugraha award both physically and spiritually.

Buda kliwon Pahang

            Wednesday is a day of Buda Kliwon Wuku Pahang or Buda Kliwon Pegat Wakan, the end of the Galungan celebration series. It is a day when Balinese are busy with post galungan and Kuningan waste material, including uprooting of penjor poles, to restore a clean and orderly environment are burnt and buried in the sacred yard of houses or merajan            

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