When in Bali, There’s Always a Festival - Galungan
I was in Bali to witness Galungan, a celebration of good over evil. It’s a time when ancient ancestors visit the earth.
First, I noticed penjor lining the road. A penjor is a tall, curving bamboo pole, with curved bamboo strips and flowers hanging off. The poles are placed in front of homes and businesses, and seem to scrape the clouds in their height. On some streets, you could see so many they seemed to form an arch over the street.
One the day of the festival, I was not sure what to expect. I asked around and learned that families leave their house together and head to the temple to make offerings. I imagined a large procession of extended family similar to a Balinese funeral procession.
Instead, individual families, many on motorbikes, zoomed around town, often stopping at more than one temple to make an offering of incense, flowers, fruits, and more. Women were precariously balancing baskets on their heads, and entire families dressed in the traditional Balinese sarong and floral sash. Men wore simple white button down shirts, and scarves around their heads, and women wore ornate lace blouses. Even the children were dressed - like miniature versions of their parents. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood, saying hello as we passed.
If your schedule brings you to Bali on a day other than Galungan - ask around - there's always a festival to be experienced. The Balinese Hindu calendar is full of them.