Galungan and Kuningan are a 10-day religious celebration for the Hindu community in Bali, held every six months in the Balinese calendar (equivalent to 35 days per month) or every 210 days. Unlike the Galungan and Kuningan celebrations at the beginning of 2023, the current Galungan and Kuningan festivities are slightly different due to the alignment of Penampahan Galungan (Day 1 before Galungan) with Purnama (the full moon). This occurrence is relatively rare but does not alter the significance of Galungan and Kuningan.

Pura Dalem Jemeng, Banjar Bayad

Galungan and Kuningan: A Time-Honoured Tradition

Traditionally, as described in the Sundarigama, Swamandala and other texts portraying Galungan and Kuningan celebrations, these occasions have a distinct character if they fall on Tilem (the dark moon) or Purnama (the full moon), being events that are rare.

Hindus offer prayers at Pura Dalem Jemeng

Spiritual Essence of Galungan and Kuningan

In the context of devotion and spirituality, Galungan and Kuningan are celebrated to honour the victory of Dharma over Adharma. During a variety of religious activities and offerings at sacred places, including personal shrines (merajan/sanggah), the Balinese Hindu community has the opportunity to unite in temples or other holy sites. Beyond being merely religious rituals, Galungan and Kuningan festivities foster camaraderie and family gatherings, which are integral to the Balinese enduring cultural heritage.

A street procession with traditional instruments

Nurturing Harmonious Connections

The second Galungan of 2023 shares many similarities with previous celebrations with its display of harmonious human relationships. The principle of Tri Hita Karana, especially the concept of Pawongan (harmonious relationships), is reflected in the religious activities of Melinggih Kelod. 

Galungan and Kuningan Day also function as family gathering occasions

Despite the demands of daily work and routines, during this time, individuals pause and temporarily detach themselves from worldly concerns, concentrating on spiritual practices and nurturing connections. The ngiring/ngunya ceremony held at Melinggih Kelod on Pahing Galungan (2 days after Galungan) not only signifies the religious dimension but also underscores how Galungan and Kuningan celebrations unify the Balinese Hindu community, anchoring their focus on the present moment.

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