December 27 | Kuningan Day

December 20, 2014

biggest-ceremonial-event-in-bali

One of the most marked major events of the year, Kuningan Day takes place ten days after - as a part of - Bali’s most important recurring religious celebrations, Galungan. Some believe Galungan as the holiday during which the Balinese gods visit the earth, and Kuningan being the day they leave and ascend back to heaven after spending time with their descendants here on earth. Others, that Kuningan is the day when the Gods and Pitara return to earth, for the purpose of blessing humanity with physical and spiritual prosperity, as well as all beings of the universe. Either way, temples are beautified to bade farewell to the Gods, adorned with ornaments made of young coconuts, leaves, and flowers.

 

The name “Kuningan” comes from the special offerings of rice turned yellow with turmeric in the cooking process, “nasi kuning” (a delicious Balinese food available all-year round for eating as well as ceremonial use, highly recommended for tasting). As the same with Galungan day, all the Balinese people make a penjor on Kuningan - the symbol of both Mount Agung and the presence of the God, made from a long bamboo pole with curved end, decorated with rice, corn, coconut cakes, and white & yellow cloth.

The purpose: to remind us that everything enjoyed in this life has come from the Gods.

 

While most festivals in Bali are held publicly and consist of ceremonies celebrated with splendour, Kuningan is quite different in that it is far more private - celebrated in a more subdued fashion in the shrines of family homes and temples. Nearly every Balinese returns to their native home to perform worship to the Gods to invoke safety, protection, and guidance. However, Tirta Empul at Tampaksiring is an excellent place for visitors to witness the locals’ ritual bathing and purification rites on this special day.

Image credit: kauaikimonos.com