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Galungan, one of the most important Balinese festivals, is the culmination of celebrations held in honour of the creator and ancestral spirits.

According to Balinese Hinduism, the creator of the universe is Ida Sang Hyang Widi. During these celebrations, it is believed that the spirits of the ancestors return to the earth, thus marking the start of many Balinese festivals.

Galungan 2024 Dates, Locations, Spiritual Festival Bali, Indonesia

At the core of the festival is the celebration of good and the overcoming of evil, the victory of Dharma and the defeat of Adharma. The festival usually runs for around ten days at various locations around Bali.

With the return of these ancestral spirits to their former homes, the locals are expected to demonstrate kindness by making offerings and chanting prayers. Visitors touring Bali during Galungan will notice the tall bamboo poles that line the streets and roads. The bamboo poles, locally referred to as ‘penjor’, are used to hang offerings as a kind gesture towards the spirits.

The poles have colourful decorations that often include fruits, flowers, and leaves from the coconut tree. The offerings, on the other hand, will consist of special foods, scented flowers, and woven palm offerings. These sacrifices are offered at home and at the local temples (referred to as pura). Women will be seen with their offerings carried on their heads, while the men will carry palm leaves to the temple with them.

More importantly, a couple of days before and after the celebrations are accorded specific names, each dependent on the activities carried out in honour of the celebrations. The dates will vary yearly simply because Balinese traditional ceremonies are observed in line with the Balinese calendar.

At the end of the celebrations, the ancestral spirits return to their home, which is marked by offerings of yellow rice to mark the end of Galungan.

About the author

Michael Jones

Michael created and runs the Bali Travel Hub website, as well as the Holiday Point travel brand that incorporates a network of 16 location based travel information and attraction websites around Australia, Asia, and around the world.

With 25+ years of online experience and a passion for travel (having travelled to Bali many times and staying in different locations on the Island), Michael not only researches and writes content for the website, he also tinkers behind the scenes with the website functionality & design.

Please reach out if you have any questions or suggestions.

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