This coming Wednesday, September 7, 2016 is Galungan; the day when the Balinese celebrate the triumph of dharma over adharma; good over evil. It is the most important religious ceremony in the Balinese Hindu calendar. In preparation our newest member of staff, Putu (in blue) showed us how to make the 'Girl' that will hang from the tip of our Penjor.
A Penjor is long bamboo pole from which decorations and offerings are hung. The pole itself represents Mount Agung, the most sacred mountain in all of Bali; the spiritual home of Balinese ancestors. The aim of erecting penjors at Galungan is to show devotion to God in His manifestation as Hyang Giri Pati (the God of the mountain). Mountains are the source which of water for the irrigation canals; the life blood of Bali.
We will erect our Penjor on Hari Penampahan, the day before Galungan. The pole will be decorated with coconut leaves, roots - sweet potato or cassava, fruits, cereal - rice, corn, leaves, traditional cakes, 11 Chinese coins, and a small shrine with offerings. Originally all materials for a penjor were sourced locally, but in recent years coloured papers, premade deorations and the Ibung palm leaf from Sulawesi are used as they look more vibrant and with stand the rigours of being outdoors for over 2 weeks.