g a l u n g a n | o n e

galungan | one

the galungan festival is one of the most important in the huge number of hindu festivals observed in the indonesian island of bali. in hindu theology it represents the triumph of the deity dharma over adharma, or put simply, the triumph of good over evil, and also represents the return of spirits of the deceased to the corporal world. in this it has much in common with festivals in other parts of the world, such as mexico’s día de muertos or japan’s obon.

the day is celebrated in numerous ways; visits to temples where rituals are performed, and most strikingly, in the decorations which are made to welcome and appease the visiting spirits. these consist of colourful votive offerings, made from rice, coloured paper and dried woven palm and bamboo leaves. the decorations are highly crafted, intricate, and quite beautiful. the most prominent of these are the penjor; tall curved bamboo poles, woven and decorated with dried palm leaves and flowers, with silver and gold ornaments lining and overhanging the streets and roads of bali’s villages and towns, each community vies with their neighbours for more elaborate, impressive (and expensive) displays, so the more ostentatious the display, the more wealthy and prosperous the neighbourhood. many of the decorations are home-made, but the most highly wrought are crafted by highly skilled artisans.

on galungan day itself most stay at home and visit local temples in brightly coloured traditional dress, carrying offerings of fruit. in the days following, things start to revert to normality, although the festivities continue culminating in kuningan day marking the end of the ten day festival. many people continue to wear traditional dress throughout the period.

these photographs were taken on the second day after galungan which, this year, 2017, fell on the 5th april.

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