Galungan in Bali
Galungan is a festival about the fight between Dharma and Adharma, it’s earliest translation symbolises the internal struggle of ego and the higher self, and the idea of the higher self dominating the ego leading to a higher consciousness. The celebrations also enable families to honour their deceased relatives spirits through hospitality, many offerings are prepared for this and are taken to the local temple.
My hosts were incredible from the off, firstly they picked me up from the airport free of charge. I was then treated to a local Balinese dinner. Not a western face in sight, just the way I like it.
Fast forward to morning. I’m invited over to not only witness the preparations but to be involved in helping them with the offerings for the ceremony. This was such a special experience. We then had the traditional Galungan breakfast of spicy mushrooms with squid (usually pork), long beans with chicken heart and rice.
I will just say I was sat beneath a palm tree whilst indulging in Balinese coffee. The tree contained one of the biggest spiders I’ve ever seen in the flesh, it was 4 maybe 5 inches across with a long nasty looking body. Fortunately these spiders live outside only, thank the universe for that one. There’s not much I’m scared of anymore but spiders are at the very top of the list!
I was then shown around the land owned by the family which is home to 3 generations. It spans an incredible amount of space with many houses both modern and traditional Balinese in style. Each home has it’s own temple, with one main temple at the centre (not geographical) of the property. All the families ceremonies take place here, including weddings and everything else in between.
It is a truly special thing to be a part of this and to see the traditions in action. For me this was far better than spending my first few days in a hostel in which everyone is drunk and rowdy, which is what Bali can be known for when backpacking.
Have you had any interesting local experiences in Bali? Let me know in the comments below.