Preparations for Galungan start a few days ahead of the actual event with the making of elaborate offerings and the ritual slaughtering of pigs to ensure that there is plenty of festive food to share. Decorative bamboo poles with temporary shrines at the base are also erected in the front of every home and business.
Galungan is a time when the Balinese return home to their ancestral villages to reconnect with their spiritual roots. Traditional rituals are performed to appease the gods as well as the forces of the unseen world. Celebrations involve praying together in the family temple followed by eating and generally catching up with distant relatives, friends and neighbours.
This religious holiday will draw to a close with Kuningan Day on 5th January 2019. A special ceremony featuring symbolic offerings will be conducted before midday to honour defied ancestors. The word ‘kuning’ means yellow and the name of this occasion derives from the fact that the offerings contain rice that has been coloured yellow. Once again, this is a family-centred event to pray, reunite with loved ones and express gratitude for life’s many blessings.