InterContinental Bali Resort invites guests and visitors to celebrate the Balinese Hindu festival of Galungan and Kuningan at two cultural evenings with traditional food and dance performances under the stars.
If you’re fortunate enough to be in Bali this year between 15th and 25th July, you will see the streets lined with ‘Penjor’ – slender, eight-metre-high, gracefully arching bamboo poles, festooned with colourful flowers, fruit, unhusked rice and palm frond ornamentation. These gorgeous all-natural decorations are displayed in celebration of ‘Galungan,’ the island’s most important festival, which occurs every 210 days, and signifies the victory of Virtue (Dharma) over Evil (Adharma).During this time, the ancestral spirits and Balinese deities descend to Earth to be honoured.
Much work goes into the making of lawar, a spicy hash of raw meat, grated coconut, vegetables and pig’s blood, traditionally prepared at the roadside by the men of each village. This year, Wednesday 15th July marks the first day of Galungan, and you will see people dressed in their finest clothes bearing elaborate offerings to their temple of origin. The day after Galungan is called ‘Manis Galungan,’ this is the day that the Balinese dedicate to visiting relatives and spending time with their families.
The tenth day after Galungan, which is known as ‘Kuningan,’ marks the end of the festival, and is believed to be the day when the spirits ascend back to heaven. Preparations for the ten-day festival will begin several days in advance when each Balinese family will create and place a penjor outside their gate, which makes the whole neighbourhood look splendid.
On Kuningan Day, the final day of the festival, the Balinese will make farewell offerings for the ancestors. These include yellow rice (Kuningan is derived from the word ‘kuning’ meaning yellow), which is placed in a small coconut leaf bowl. The yellow rice is a symbol of gratitude to God for life, joy, wealth, health and prosperity. The celebration usually takes place before noon, and in some villages, you will see ‘barongs’ or ‘ngelawangs’ – lion like creatures – going from house to house followed by kids playing traditional Balinese music instruments. The custom is to give the barong an offering of some money after which it will dance and bless the house and family.
InterContinental Bali Resort will be celebrating Galungan on Wednesday 15th July, from 7:00 p.m. onwards, with a special Archipelago Dinner & Kecak Dance, featuring a buffet feast and a magical evening of music and dance, with prices starting at Rp520,000++ per person.
Additionally, in celebration of Kuningan on Saturday 25th July, the resort will be hosting the Spirit of Bali event at which you can relish a feast of traditional Balinese cuisine with yellow rice as its centrepiece, accompanied by ‘Okokan,’ ‘Tektekan’ and ‘Calonarang’ sacred dance rituals from 7:00 p.m. onwards with prices starting at Rp520,000++ per person.