Galungan is an important Balinese holiday. It is celebrated every 210 days due to the Balinese Calendar system.
The word Galungan means victory or battle. It is a day when goodness won the battle against badness. Galungan is a sequence of celebrations starting with Sugihan Jawa and ends with Kuningan Day.
The day before Galungan is called Penampahan – a Balinese word which means slaughter. Some people usually slaughter pigs and chickens as a symbol of laziness and other bad habits and use the meats for offerings given to the evil entities so that they won’t annoy the harmony of the universe. The killing of animals in this respect is symbolic for killing ‘the animal inside yourself’ – the victory of the higher self over the ego in their struggle for control of the inner power of the individual; implicity this symbolizes the victory of dharma (good) over adharma (bad).
The meat is afterwards prepared and cooked for traditional Balinese dishes such as lawar, babi guling,and satay.
The Balinese children are especially looking forward to Penampahan Galungan as it is a typical family party day with lots of delicious dishes. The adults however are extremely busy during this day with the final preparations of the Galungan offerings.
On this day, people also should make ‘penjor‘, a bamboo pole beautifully decorated by young coconut leaves and various ornaments. These penjor are a type of offering with which people express their gratitude for the prosperity of the earth that is bestowed on them. It is put up in front of every house and building, symbolizing the great Mount Agung, and the presence of God Almighty.
Various leaves, plantations, crops, fruits and traditional cakes in diverse shapes and colors beautify the bamboo pole, which means that every element of the world is represented in penjor. It also shows the gratitude upon God Almighty because all things available on earth come from God.