The Balinese holidays of Galungan and Kuningan will be celebrated on Wednesday 17th December and Saturday 27th December respectively.
Galungan occurs once every 210 days according to the Balinese calendar and celebrates the victory of ‘Dharma (virtue) upon ‘Adharma’ (evil). Hindus believe that the spirits of their ancestors descend to earth for a visit during this time. Locals perform rituals which are intended to welcome the spirits. Kuningan is the last day of the holiday. During this holiday the spirits of deceased relatives visit the Earth and leave on Kuningan.
It is a wonderful time to visit Bali as the streets are decorated with ‘penjor’s’. A ‘penjor’ is a long bamboo pole which is made to decorate the entrance to the family compound. Offerings for the Gods are placed in a small ‘cage’ on the pole. By late Tuesday afternoon you will see these decorative poles all over Bali, creating a very festive atmosphere in the street.
Although Galungan falls on a Wednesday, most Balinese will begin their Galungan ‘holiday’ the day before as the family needs to prepare offerings and commence cooking for the next day. Be prepared for some local businesses to be closed from the 16th – 18th December inclusive.