Bali’s victory of good over evil

Parade of Balinese women with fruit on their head

The Galungan festival is one of Bali’s most important religious ceremonies and the next festival will be held 1-11 February, 2012. It symbolises the victory of Dharma (Virtue) upon Adharma (Evil), and honours ancestors as well as the creator of the universe. Though it is a Hindu festival, participation of people from all castes and denominations is all part of the fun, as Erin Secomb discovered…

“Bali’s people are very religious, in the truest sense of the word – their beliefs are reflected in the way they live their lives daily and hourly, and they happily devote much of their time to preparing and giving offerings, and especially to the celebration of their favourite festivals.

One such festival that I had the pleasure and honour of encountering on one of my frequent visits was the Galungan festival. Ten days of celebration, across the entire island culminate in a heartwarming day, known as Kuningan – a Balinese described its importance in their calendar as similar to our Christmas Day. All the children of each village dressed up in one long dragon-like costume with a scary god head at the front, and danced through the streets banging drums and shaking rattles, accompanied by much hilarity. The small offerings each Balinese made to the god that looks after an area, be it a shop, a house or a park, multiplied into the thousands, and the heady smell of sandalwood incense and jasmine flowers permeated everything.

Every house, shop and temple was decorated with a homemade panjor, created from a long length of bamboo decorated with curls of palm fronds, flowers and woven bells, giving the whole island an enormously festive appearance. The Galungan festival is one of those occasions in Bali when everyone is on the streets cheering for the children, giving offerings and smiling generously. Everyone feasted together that evening. It was truly wonderful!”

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* photo by Dennis Walton – Intrepid Photography Competition

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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Hi Loren,
Good news, Beautiful Bali departs most Saturdays. We have scheduled departures until June 2012 and February trips that coincide with this great festival. In coming months we shall be confirming the full 2012 itinerary and schedule. You can fine more info about this trip on our website at
Happy travels,
Sue, Intrepid Express editor'

Do you have a trip (Beautiful Bali) like this planned for 2012?
Thank you.
L. Wanless

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