December is always a special month in a calendar that everybody, including myself, impatiently await for. It is a month of family meetings, winter days off, Christmas tree and great food. OK, that is when it comes to Poland.. In Bali things look a little bit differently.
In December Balenese people celebrate two important days – Galungan and Kuningan. It is believed that during those two days a spirits of cremated ancestors are coming back to the Earth and religious Balenese need to do everthing to make them feel comfortable. As the roads are beeing specially decorated with so called penjor (bamboo poles) and thousands of ceremonies are taking place
around whole island, Galungan begins.
We, EVS volunteers, also took a part in one of them. To be a part of such ceremony, we went to to local market to buy traditional Balenese clothes – kebaya and sarong. Making a choice from all that colours was not an easy thing to do! There are many types of sarong, fabrics etc. But I guess this is a subject for another post.
We join procession and stay in temple for more than one hour to participate in ceremony.That was our first time and I need to admit that – it was fascinating. Thanks to local priest that invited us to take a part in ceremony, we could observe, take photos and be a part of this beautiful ritual.
Couple days later Kuningan takes place that officialy closes Galungan ceremony. At that day spirits come back to heaven. Word Kuningan comes from indonesian kuning which means yellow. And yellow is a colour of a rice that is put in the baskets together with fruits, flowers and snacks. All Balenese are praying but also traditional Balenese dance can be seen. This is a happy day for everybody.
Bali has a thousands (if not more) festivals, rituals, ceremonies and believes. Thanks to that discovering the culture is a long but fascinating journey that, thanks to EVS, I am taking part in.