The week of celebrations in Bali comes to an end, and it is a good time to reflect on how we survived without warungs and laundries and traffic jams in Kuta…
That’s a joke! These festival days there were enough spaces and places to continue the normal life, and many opportunities to see the new things!
On July 17-18 took place one of the biggest Muslim festives, Idul Fitri – a celebration of endurance during previous Ramadan month, and the time for all Muslims in Bali (just as in all Indonesia) to visit their families and ask the forgiveness for all wrongdoing during last year with the Bahasa expression mohon maaf lahir dan batin.
Another celebration – Galungan, related to the local Hindu tradition – involves around 80% of Balinese people. Galungan is like New Year in Russia or Christmas in Europe, lasting 10 days – in 2015, it’s from July 15 to July 25. The meaning of this festival is the victory of good over evil, dharma over adharma. It is the time for Hindus to visit the family and to participate in the ceremonies – each day of celebration has its own meaning.
The start of Galungan is notable by the special for Bali street decoration – penjor. These bamboo sticks with the ornament of coconut leaves are handmade and mean a blessing to everyone.
Kuta. After several days, some penjors lose their suspension – I wish to find one, just for luck!
The decorations for Galungan are massive! All the temples are wearing their festive outfit, just as all people, and even cars and bikes are decorated!
Bali, Uluwatu. Cars are also celebrating!
In Kuta, there is not much chance to see a massive ceremony, however you can see unforgettably quiet and peaceful Kuta!
I love Kuta as it is, with all overloaded streets and bars producing lots of trash, with all voices offering you everything from cheap bracelets and transport to drugs… But during Galungan just for couple of days it is all gone! The streets are so empty that little performers were playing the traditional Barong (about the good over evil, of course) almost on the road!
Nevertheless, there are still enough restaurants, cafes, shops and laundries open in touristic locations. I would say, each 1 of 4 rests is open, especially those of European cuisine. And, of course, all the tourist-oriented entertainment places are open: big shops and shopping malls like Matahari and Discovery, etc.
However, there are two things I wouldn’t recommend you to do during Galungan: to plan the visa extensions – the consulates of Indonesia are closed for several days in all countries. And to change the money – due to few exchange offices are open, the exchange rate is really low! And be careful: between the towns of Bali, the traffic can be much more than usual!
It should be rare both celebrations come so close: Idul Fitri dates are calculated by the Muslim calendar which is 11 days shorter than Roman calendar, and Galungan is calculated on Hindu calendar and happens every 210 days. Next time we will visit Pura Besakih for a ceremony, for sure!