Travellers to Bali between June and July 2007 will be able to witness Bali's most significant ritual - Galungan. Hindus will merrily celebrate their 'Day of Victory', when good defeats evil. This year's Galungan will start on June 27, 2007 and will end with Kuningan Day on Juli 7, 2007.
During this period the most important regular religious celebrations in the pawukon cycle are held and marked with the thousands of long decorated bamboo poles (penjor) erected along the side walks and at each family compound entrance gate.
Deified family ancestors descend to their former homes during Galungan and must be entertained and welcomed with prayers and offerings. Meanwhile, other families with deceased relatives who are buried but not yet cremated must make offerings at the graves. Everyone participates in these celebrations.
Penjors, the long bamboo poles hung with offerings, are erected at the front of the house compound entrance gate. All trade practically ceases during Galungan days, schools are closed and village life concentrates exclusively upon the events surrounding this very sacred period.
Sunday, June 24, the day before Galungan is called Penyekeban day (a day to cover up fermented cakes) where green bananas are sealed in huge clay pots upon which a small coconut husk is placed. Lots of bananas are required for Galungan offerings, and this heat treatment ripens them quickly.
Penyajaan day, which falls on Monday, is devoted to making many colored cakes of fried rice dough that are much loved by the Balinese and used in many ceremonies as offerings. The village markets are full of Balinese cakes, since a busy house wife has no time to make enough herself.
The day prior to Galungan day, called Penampahan (slaughter day), sees the slaughter of many pigs for the traditional Galungan morning feast. Featured in this feast is the traditional lawar (a spicy hash made of finely chopped pork and numerous spices). Likewise, five different kinds of hash are prepared to make dozens of sticks of minced "satay". Galungan day itself is a time for prayers, family get togethers and offerings, and little work is done.
The day after Galungan is called Umanis Galungan because it falls on the umanis day of the five-day week. The roads in some parts of Bali are jammed with cars, motorbikes and even thousands of pedestrians because Umanis Galungan is a time for holiday, visiting friends and fun.