I had unknowingly arrived in Bali the day before Galungan, one of the most important religious celebrations in this Hindi island. Occuring every 210 days, the Galungan is on December 26 this year while Kuningan, the last day is on January 5. Being a holiday, many commercial establishments, mostly the family-run ones are either closed or open half of the day.
Yesterday, At the homestay where I am at, the family was busy making offerings. Out on the streets long bamboo poles decorated with offerings called “penjor” were being erected.
The statues that adorn many homes and temples also seemed to be wearing new or at least, newly-washed sarong.
Throught the day today, Ubud’s streets were made more colorful with the locals in their beautiful Balinese wear. Temples were filled with families making offerings. I had to buy a sarong at a shop near a temple just so I could enter the complex as it is customary even for foreigners to wear one.
Groups of children also paraded the streets playing gongs while the “barong” (a lion-like creature in Balinese mythology who represents good) “danced” (the “barong” used by the children is not the sacred one used in temple dances but the one used for practices).
In the evening, I chanced on this all-boy troop at the streets near my homestay.
They had two gongs (the large one played on the boss and the smaller one on the surface), a bamboo drum called “tawu-tawu,” a wooden drum called “khendang,” and pairs of cymbals called “ceng ceng.”
Two small boys held donation boxes for the barong. It was fun to watch them go down the streets sometimes stopping to rest.