Galungan in Bali – What to Expect (And the Myth)


Galungan in Bali is around the corner. To be précised, it’s happening on November 10, 2021, this year. It is one of the sacred ceremonies in Bali that you can feel approaching by seeing these signs. What are those? Keep on reading this article by KajaNe Bali Villas to know more.

Translated from the ancient Javanese, the word Galungan indicates victory, but over what?

The Myth Told in Brief concerning Galungan in Bali

The victory indicated by the passage above is a win over evil that is begun by the story of Mayadenawa. He is the son of Goddess Danu, a powerful and loyal Siva devotee gained his might from a solemn yoga Samadhi he performed. When the giant was out of control, his brutality brought misery to many people in Bali. It worried a holy priest named Mpu Kul Putih who went all the way to ask for God’s guidance by a means of yoga Samadhi.

God answered His prayer by sending the God of War, God Indra to put an end to the suffering. The plan was recognized by Mayadenawa. Although the Gods dominated the fight, Mayadenawa continued his trick to poison the Gods by defiling the holy water source that they used to heal the supreme beings. Alas, God Indra knew better the cunning Mayadenawa would do so. He built another holy spring water we know now as Tirta Empul Temple.

Mayadenawa eventually lost in the war and this was what was celebrated on Galungan day in Bali; a win over misdeed Mayadenawa.

What’s the Most Apparent during Galungan in Bali?

Offerings vary during Galungan in Bali. You can see kinds of flowers arranged neatly on a certain organic vessel made of young coconut leaf. Other things you can witness are snacks, fruits, and miscellaneous meals. There’s also this high bamboo pole installed before any house entrances of Balinese Hindus we call as penjor. All these preparations take days.

Speaking about what’s the most apparent sign that indicates Galungan is getting nearer in Bali is penjor. There’s a reason why we decorate it in that certain manner. If carefully identified, penjor looks like a mountain, but some also say it resembles a dragon. Penjor is actually an offering that we present to the Supreme God to show our gratitude for the prosperity bestowed upon us by decorating it with the crops. Balinese Hindus believe that their God lives in a mountain. We also owe so much to the mountain where our crops are mostly sourced from. On the other hand, the dragon is a mythical being that we believe guards the safety of the island.

What the Balinese Go Through when Galungan Is Approaching?

Every 210 days the Hindu devotees commemorate Galungan in Bali. 35 days prior to the due date, they observe a ceremony called Tumpek Pengatag for the crops. They would pray to the Supreme God so the fruits can flourish greatly and they can celebrate the ceremony by offering excellent produce.

6 and 5 days before Galungan, we perform cleansing rituals in Sugian Jawa and Bali. The former refers to the cleansing of praying sites and instruments used in holy ceremonies. The latter is the human cleansing, physically and spiritually.

It takes 2 days before Wednesday, Budha Kliwon wuku Dungulan on the day of Galungan in Bali for the Hindus rejoice with their family to prepare all kinds of offering including meals and penjor. They will even share their creation with their extended family and relatives.

The next day at the peak of the ceremony, they will wake up early and place their offerings to their home shrines, visit their hometown shrines and grand temples to pray along with their family, and reconnect. This ceremony lasts from the crack of dawn till the sun goes down. After everything finally has been settled, in the late afternoon or evening, they will sort their offering and collect the fruits and snacks (lungsuran) they will share with their nearest and dearest to enjoy later and the next days.

PS: Do note that holy days in Bali are based on a saka (lunisolar) calendar system.

What Can You Do If You Want to Watch the Ceremony?

If you are really keen to watch the ceremony in person, you can get permission from a family of Balinese Hindus to join in. You can help out in the making of penjor, or at the meal and offering prep. It’s alright as long as you’re not in some way on your period (women) and of course, if they let you in. Another way is to swing by a grand temple in Bali to watch the festivity of Galungan in Bali. However, you won’t get a chance to follow the sequences preceding the rite.

It’s best if you can document the overall events they have to experience because that’s where the heart of togetherness is rooted in the gaiety of Galungan in Bali. Discover a lovely Bali private villa in Ubud with no worries with KajaNe Bali Villas. Find our super promo on our Instagram @kajaneresorts. To reserve our private Bali villas, call +62361 4792361 or send us a message at

External Sources:

Hari Raya Galungan 2021, Berikut Sejarah dan Kumpulan Ucapannya dalam Bahasa Bali by Tribun News

Memaknai Hari Raya Galungan by PHDI (Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia Pusat)

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