Significance of Galungan Feast Day Series
Significance of Galungan Feast Day Series

Galungan falling on Buda (Wednesday) Kliwon Dungulan is the eagerly awaited feast day by the Hindu communities in Indonesia. This feast day falls every 210 days as it is based on intersection of panca wara (five-day week) and sapta wara (seven-day week). The series of celebrations to welcome Galungan has begun 25 days earlier namely on Tumpek Pengatag. On this day, Hindu followers perform a ritual to respect for plants so that they could bear fruits and lushly flower to be used in welcoming Galungan.

Next processions include the Penyekeban Galungan, Penyajaan Galungan and Penampahan Galungan. Penyekeban Galungan falls on Sunday (Redite Paing Dungulan) which is usually followed by a process of ‘ripening’ (penyekeban) fruits. Philosophically, Penyekeban Galungan can mean that humans should shrink the ego of their deeds, so that they can get closer to God.

After this procession is Penyajaan Galungan falling on Monday (Soma Pon Dungulan). It is time for the Hindus to prepare various cakes to be used in the ritual oblation of Galungan. Philosophically, Penyajaan Galungan is interpreted as an attempt to make creation with sweet and useful characteristic for humans.

Moralized knowledge is an expected effect that occurs in harmony with the celebration of Penyajaan Galungan. When knowledge comes without morality, then the destruction of the world is at stake. Meanwhile, Penampahan Galungan falling on Tuesday (Anggara Wage Dungulan) is a long-awaited day by the Hindus in Bali. Penampahan Galungan is celebrated by preparing very festive cooking.

Slaughtering a swine is a commonplace activity carried out. On this day, all members of the Hindu community will try to do their best in preparing delicacies to be eaten on the day of Galungan on the next day.

Philosophically, the celebration of Penampahan Galungan is actually put emphasis on the effort to eradicate the existing animal nature in human. Thus, on the celebration of Galungan humans could be freed from the animal nature. Swine is a symbol of laziness, so that slaughtering it then symbolizes that laziness can be eliminated.

Penampahan Galungan is also followed by natab byakala ritual in the afternoon for self-purification. The philosophical meaning of Penampahan Galungan is gradually replaced with literal meaning, namely slaughtering swine for the preparation of Galungan. Ignorance about the significance of the celebration may probably have side impacts such as followed by drunkenness and so forth.

“Philosophically, the three series of Galungan feast day are actually a process of self-purification so that in the celebration of Galungan we truly celebrate the victory of dharma (truth) against adharma (untruth). If the philosophical meaning is set aside, we do not get goodness, but adharma will even go rampant in the life of community,” said Chairman of the Hindu Dharma Council of Indonesia (PHDI) of Bali, Prof. Dr. I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana.

Nevertheless, in this current globalization era, the philosophy of Galungan feast day series has undergone a shift in meaning. An academician, Dr. I.B. Radendra Suastama, believed that the shift in the meaning is influenced by the Hindu perspective in understanding the procession of Galungan and Kuningan.

It is inseparable from the growth of pragmatic, consumptive and instant mental attitude among the members of Hindu community today. Actually, the significance of each series of Galungan and Kuningan feast day is essentially philosophically profound.

Starting from the meaning of self-restraint, self-preparation to the essence of meaning against lust in human self to victory in the fight of dharma against adharma which is actually going on inside human self now tends to be more oriented in and focused on the aspects of celebration and hedonism.

“Self-indulgence of earthly desires is hued by capital hegemony wrapped in communal traditions on spiritual meanings. This phenomenon needs to be clarified so that it could be corresponding to the initial idea. To that end, it will require an ongoing communication and dissemination,” said Dr. I.B. Radendra.


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