As a land of diverse cultures and religions, Indonesia celebrates a wide range of festivals each year. One of the country’s leading festivals, Galungan, is of great importance for Balinese people in particular. Symbolizing the victory of virtue over evil, this celebration includes numerous ceremonies and cultural rites.
Marking the beginning of the earth’s festival ceremony known as “Pawedalan Jagat”, Galungan occurs once in every 210 days. The Balinese believe that during the festival, their deified ancestors descend to their former homes whilst Hindus offer their gratitude to God for creating the world. Families who have their ancestors buried in the cemetery of the village customarily make offerings at the graves.
Lasting for ten days, the festival includes such rituals as the thrones and images of Gods being taken down to the sea and being given a ceremonial bath. There is a myth associated with this unique celebration. It is said that the death of Mayadenawa, a cruel king, signifies the victory of good over evil.
Penjor is one of the most essential commodities for the festival. It is crafted from a long bamboo pole and adorned with cakes, coconut, corn on the cob and rice paddies. Usually created on the day prior to the day of Galungan, this commodity signifies gratitude for the agricultural produce and Mount Agung which is described as the symbol of sanctity. Each stage of the festival has a particular element with a unique symbolization.
Although Galungan is basically a Hindu festival, it is celebrated by many people regardless of their faith, culture and caste. In addition to this vibrant annual celebration there is an array of other colourful festivals Indonesia is known for including the Dragon Boat Festival, Bali Arts Festival, Lomban Festival, Kasada, Manado Beach Festival, Independence Day Celebrations and more.
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