Galungan and Kuningan: A Ceremony to Celebrate Victory Against The Evil
As a Balinese, I embrace Hindu as my religion, and so do the majority of Balinese. Hindu is part of our culture and its engraved in our daily lives and activity. We have a lot of ceremonies and philosophy for almost everything, for example, Saraswati for knowledge, Tri Hita Karana, and Tat Twam Asi.
The History of Galungan and Kuningan
As you can see on the title, Galungan and Kuningan is a ceremony to celebrate the victory of Dharma (the good) against Adharma (the evil). According to Hindu Mythology in Bali, there was an evil and powerful giant named Mayadenawa that ruled Bali. He does not allow Balinese to pray to the temple, he only allows to pray to himself.
Seeing a really bad thing happens, God did not stay still they sent Indra to stop Mayadenawa. After a long fight, Mayadenawa realized that he could not win against Indra so he ran away and disguised as a chicken. However, he could not hide against Indra and his army and finally Indra killed Mayadenawa.
To commemorate the victory of Indra (Dharma) against Mayadenawa (Adharma), they named it Galungan and Kuningan. We celebrate Galungan and Kuningan every 6 months or 210 to be exact with a Balinese Saka calendar. Galungan always on Wednesday, meanwhile Kuningan is 10 days after Galungan and always on Saturday.
Essential Things on Galungan and Kuningan
Penampahan is 1 day before Galungan, usually Balinese will cook various foods from a pig, for example, lawar, a soup with pig meat and jackfruit. On this day, the pig is really essential as the main food or ingredient. If you are in Bali on this day, probably you can see many pickup cars with pigs at the back.
Penjor is another essential things on Galungan and Kuningan. You might notice in front of every house there will be Penjor, made from a long bamboo with various ornaments on it. I think it is the same as a Christmas tree.
Penjor has meaning as a gratitude to the God because of the agriculture products that they got. Its symbolized the Mount Agung on the top, the bamboo as a river that flows to the sea through the agriculture lands. That is why in the middle of the bamboo, there are various agricultural products like coconut, banana, and paddy.
Also, I personally think that the Penjor also has another meaning. For example, it is like a victory proof against the evil. Just like a flag that shows freedom, and prosperity.
You only can see Barong dance during Galungan and Kuningan, unless you go to certain places that has the show. Usually, the youth will go around on the village from home to home to show the dance. Legend says Barong could protect the village from a disaster.
Long time ago, if there is some disease affect the village, the villagers will use Barong to go around the village to cure the disease. Even now, I think certain villages still do the same. Not only disease, for example, if pests attack the paddy field that leads to failure. The villagers also use Barong to repel the pests.
Manis Galungan is a day after Galungan. During Galungan, everyone goes to the temple and pray together. Meanwhile, a day after Galungan is a free time that usually we use to meet our family.