I am still buzzing from the excitement at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival held this year, October 25-29. The line-up of Indonesia’s highest-caliber writers and poets, such as Nh. Dini, Joko Pinurbo, and Djenar Maesa Ayu, really caught the attention of literary fans.
With a soul enlightened from all the books’ deep dive sessions; I was planning to fly out of Bali. But then a friend told me about the coming festival this first week of November; the Celebration of Galungan.
“Galungan is a celebration of good over evil, Dharma over Adharma. It is a time when our ancient ancestors revisit the earth. They hang around for ten days, and then on Kuningan they return back to where they came from,” my friend tells me.
I was intrigued. Of course I wanted to extend my stay with the powerful ancestors all around me. And as if the universe was granting my every wish, I also heard the positive news about the alert status of Mount Agung being lowered.
So I stayed a few extra days at Padma Resort Ubud. When I read about their Mountain Getaway package, the search was over! Why? I could save up to 40%, include the airport transfer service, breakfast for two, and try the resort’s well-known Afternoon Tea!
On arrival at the resort, I remembered to look at the majestic Mount Agung from my room balcony; thanking it for its return to a less threatening state.
The majestic Mount Agung from Padma Resort Ubud
The very next morning on Galungan day, after devouring the famous breakfast at The Puhu Restaurant and Lounge, I walked around the village and noticed all the penjor lining the road. A penjor is a tall, curved bamboo pole, with curved bamboo strips and flowers hanging off it. The poles are placed in front of homes and businesses, and almost touch the clouds as they are so tall.
Earlier in the morning I learned from the kind and resourceful Guest Relations team at Padma Resort Ubud, that families leave their homes, and head off together to the temple to make offerings. Individual families, many on motorbikes, roam around the town, stopping at different temples to make a Galungan offering of incense, flowers, fruit, and some traditional sweets.
Balinese dressed in their Sunday best, walking graciously while balancing baskets on their heads, and entire families dressed in the traditional Balinese sarong and colorful sash. The men wore simple white button-down shirts, and scarves around their heads, and the women ornate lace blouses.
The holidays of Galungan and Kuningan were described to me as like having your beloved ancestors visit for ten days, during which time you need to entertain them, give them your best garden produce, or your best kitchen cooking, and just “be with them.”
Most Balinese take several days off for this long holiday. Galungan is celebrated every six months, according to the Balinese calendar. During the holiday itself, there are processions to temples around the island. In between, it is customary to make your home hospitable for the ancestors, while continuing to go to the temple with offerings.
I loved seeing the processions and the lovely penjors, as my mouth watered just thinking about the bountiful Balinese delicacies the families eat.
Galungan in Bali, photo by Wonderful Bali
With no flight home booked yet, and no dinner invitation in hand, my next plan was to beat my craving for Balinese food; but with some caution. I was pondering whether to stay longer in Ubud, but then I felt like I needed to top up my tan. What would people say if I extended my holiday,but returned home still pale?
To get my sun tan I headed to Padma Resort Legian and booked their beach Getaway package. I witness the sunset over a glass of Mango Keffir Martini, enjoyed their Traditional Balinese Themed dinner at Donbiu Restaurant,with a spa treatment to end this extended holiday.
I hope I still have a job when I return to work next week 🙂