'What is that?'
'Penjor. It's for the Galungan and Kuningan celebration'
Kuningan day, marks the end of the 10 day Galungan celebration. It is celebrated every 210 days in Bali, as explained by my friend Arie.
*Penjor comes is various sizes and elaborate decorations. Each one is different and is made by every family. It can take any where between 5 hours to 3 days to make one. The larger the penjor, and elaborate it is, symbolises the size of the family. Its normally perched right outside every home.
The yellow rice is important as it symbolises human's gratitude towards God for all the life, joy, wealth, health and prosperity given.
As explained by my Balinese friend, on Kuningan day, Ida Sang Hyang Widhi comes to bless and give prosperity to the whole world. It is believed that the celebration should be done before noon, as the gods and goddess' return to the heavens after this time of day.
*I've always wanted to attend a Balinese celebration and the gods were in my favour!
*Clearly I was spoilt for choice and it was difficult just picking out one out of the many I liked.
The top, Kebaya, was not such an easy task. We went to a few places and finally settled at a boutique that was recommended by a local.
Beautiful… absolutely beautiful well-fitted Kebaya’s that are adorned by laces, intricate hand stitched details and colour. I could have purchased more than a dozen Kebayas if I stayed there longer and if I had more cash. Its just so beautiful. Due to the intricate detail that goes into making a Kebaya, it is generally more expensive than a sarong. Never the less, it is impressive.
*Wrapping a sarong around your waist has its own technique. I’m grateful to one of the hotel staff for teaching me how to tie it as it was no easy feat trying to get it right without any pins, and making sure it doesn’t come undone while you walk, sit and pray!
*Seen a few that got shooed away as their attire were not complete. Lets just saw I was a only photographer within the praying chambers taking pictures.
Sakenan temple is the closes to Kuta and one that is visited by thousands of devotees.
We got there early and I could see the crowd forming. The walk from the car park to the temple entrance, the roadsides are filled with pop-up stores selling food, trinkets and even coloured chicks! As you walk into the temple, the sound of the traditional music fills the air.
The sound made from the gamelan combined with the sounds and smell of the ocean was just beautiful. It took me back to a place where I felt calm and serene. The breeze just added on to the ambience.
By 10am the front entrance to the first praying chambers was choked up with people and kids. The prayers last about 30 minutes a session hence once the first batch leaves to the second temple, the crowd at the gates are allowed to pass through.
of the ceremony.
Offering baskets were placed on the alter and people sat in almost every space available. Somehow at the same time, there was a certain grid that former allowing priest and priestess to walk among the clusters of people administrating their duties.
Each time the bell rings, the devotee raises their hands with a flower in it, which is then later placed on either side of the ear. It is done 3 times. The other priest and priestess would come around at the final stages of the prayers with holy water (for drinking) and rice which is to be placed on the forehead, back of the ears and between the dimples of the collar bone.
*Trying to sit in a tightly wrapped sarong is not easy. I really do admire how these woman do it effortlessly, while I fumbled around trying to find a proper leg position to sit in without causing my sarong to come undone or my blood flow be cut off from my legs.
One thing for sure, the Balinese are truly devoted Hindus. I have never seen a culture so devoted that everyone goes to the temple to pray their respects during festivals. Not because they are told too or forced too, but because they want to and believe that they must fulfil their duties to their belief.
Bali is an awesome place to visit during a celebration, and definitely fun to be apart of it too!
*Kuta might be the only place that is still open and running to cater to the tourist but most of Bali is closed on both Galungan day and Kuningan day.
View the gallery for more photographs.