HINDU FESTIVAL OF GALUNGAN

As we drove through the countryside of Bali we watched the people preparing for the Hindu festival of Galungan. Our driver explained that this festival is as important to the Hindu’s as Christmas is to Christians.

Galungan marks the beginning of the most important recurring religious ceremonies. The spirits of deceased relatives who have died and been cremated return to visit their former homes, and the current inhabitants have a responsibility to be hospitable through prayers and offerings. The most obvious sign of the celebrations are the penjor – bamboo poles weighed down by offerings suspended at the end. These can be seen by the side of roads. A number of days around the Kuningan day itself have special names, with particular activities being organized.[2]

Driving through Bali is very different than in South/Central America. It seems like every meter along the road was filled with homes, villages and shops; all preparing for the big festival.

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All along the roads were these ornate decorations, lining the way while hundreds of people laboured in front of their homes to make them.

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This temple was across from the coffee plantation.

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When I looked at this temple I thought “wow, it must be a special place”. But my perception was wrong, it was no more special than thousands of other Hindu temples that are scattered everywhere.

The Balinese take their temples seriously, spending copious amounts on building temples everywhere; on roads, attached to villages, in the centre of villages, randomly located in a remote jungle location or in their homes, as the quality of the temple in your home is a statement of wealth.

This spectacular and ornate temple was no different than the others.

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And it was unlocked, welcoming any visitors. Too bad it was raining or I would have gone in.

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