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About Galungan and Kuningan in Bali

Read about one of the most important Balinese holidays each year. Perhaps this year you are blessed and lucky to be experiencing these sacred celebrations in Bali.

Galungan is a Balinese holiday celebrating the victory of dharma over adharma. It marks the time when the ancestral spirits visit the Earth. The last day of the celebration is Kuningan when they return.



Galungan - every 210 days

Celebrated by Balinese Hindus, Galungan is commemorated every 210 days and lasts for 10 days. The holiday is a celebration of the day of the victory of the Dharma (goodness) against Adharma (evil). The word Galungan comes from the Old Javanese language meaning 'win'. Aside from being a celebration of victory, this important Day also commemorates the creation of the universe and its contents.

The Celebration

This year’s Galungan falls today, 8 June 2022, where all Hindus will head to the temples around their homes wearing celebratory traditional clothes which are white dominated. The Hindus will bring offerings such as fresh fruit to the temple to be enjoyed together after the ceremony and praying take place. In each celebration of Galungan you will see every corner of the streets in Bali, bamboo pole ornaments (penjor) decorated using coconut leaves and ornaments from crops such as fruits, rice, corn, coconut, leaves and others on the side of the road in Bali. Installing penjor means gratitude for the prosperity and welfare that has been given by Hyang Widhi Wasa (God Almighty).

To honor the 10th day of Galungan, there is a Kuningan Day. In Kuningan, Hindus made yellow rice as an offering to symbolize prosperity and gratitude to Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa (God Almighty).

The Traditions

1. Ngelawang Barong

Ngelawang from the word lawang (door), a show that is carried out from house to house, from village to village using barong bangkung (barong in the form of a pig). From the mythology Dewi Ulun Danu who turned into a giant, to help villagers conquer evil spirits. In the past, this ritual was classified as a sacred one, but nowadays Ngelawang is used as an art performance performed by children, by parading the barong around the village, accompanied by gamelan. Usually performed around Bali, around these areas: Ubud, Tanah Lot, Klungklung, Denpasar.

(photo by madewedastra)

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2. Perang Jempana

This tradition has existed since 1500, in Paksebali Village, Klungkung is a tradition done every Galungan where local residents carry a stretcher (jempana) with offerings and symbols of the Gods. The peak of this ritual is Ngambeng Jempana, which is the attraction of mutual encouragement between residents who carry jempana while accompanied by the sound of gong wasps. Usually performed around the Klungklung area.

(photo by akuduii)

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3. Gerebeg Mekotek

In Tabanan, Adat Munggu Village, in Mengwi to be exact, there is this long tradition of each Galungan of bad spirit (bala) elimination parade called Gerebeg Mekotek. The mekotek tradition is done with 2.5 meters of peeled wood. Residents who participate in the tradition will be divided into several groups, from them they will elect one as command to give orders from the top of the pyramid. The commander will direct the group to crash into other groups. In addition to rejecting bala, Mekotek is also believed to be a request for blessings and asking for fertility for the local farmland. Usually performed around the Denpasar area.

(photo by tirto)

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Experience Balinese Galungan and Kuningan celebration while participating in upskill's short course program this December 2022. Galungan celebration upcoming date falls on the 4th of January 2023.

Participate in our new collaboration program of Intercultural Communications short course 2022. The 4 weeks intensive short course has been passionately designed to study social attributes, thought patterns & culture of different groups of people where identity & culture are studied within the discipline of communication to analyze how globalization influences ways of thinking, beliefs, values & identity within & between cultural environments.  

Mark your calendar:course dates 19 December 2022 - 13 January 2023.

Experience Galungan and Kuningan during your study?