Galungan: Balinese pray for goodness and peace
Niken Prathivi and Wasti Atmodjo , The Jakarta Post , Denpasar | Thu, 03/19/2009 3:03 PM | Bali
As part of celebrations for the Galungan festival, which fell on Wednesday, Balinese Hindus prayed for everlasting goodness and peace in the upcoming general elections.
Spiritual leader Dharma Tirta Amarta said the essence of Galungan and Kuningan is to celebrate victory of dharma (virtue) over adharma (evil), at the Pura Agung (Great Temple) in Jagatnatha, Mangku Wayan Runa,.
Kuningan is celebrated 10 days after Galungan.
"To show our gratitude to the Almighty for giving us such enlightenment after six months of obscurity, we have to do the worshiping while maintaining this peacefulness, especially in welcoming the general elections," Runa said, referring to Galungan, which is observed every six months.
This year Galungan falls on Wednesday, while Nyepi will be on March 26 and Kuningan on March 28. On April 9, coinciding with the legislative election day, the faithful celebrate the island-wide sacrificial ritual of Panca Wali Krama, which is observed once in 10 years.
Runa said Denpasar residents and Bali people in general should be able to upkeep the holiness of the festivals by avoiding bad things and pray to God to expel evil spirit.
"A smooth legislative election on the sidelines of the religious festivities will shows that Balinese Hindus can maintain their devoutness to God," he said.
"They are still able to perform a decent worship despite heating up of political situation nowadays."
"I summon all running candidates or parties to hold back their ego or high ambition, so we all can maintain the peacefulness of Bali."
Since early morning, people have been heading to temples by motorcycle or cars in traditional clothing - the kebaya blouse and traditional head bands for women and sarungs for men - to perform prayer.
One of the largest temples in town, Pura Agung Jagatnatha, was already busy at 7 a.m. People flowed like water to pray, before returning home to enjoy their holiday with family and friends.
I Wayan Gde, who worked in Jimbaran, made his homecoming during Galungan.
"This is a perfect time for a Denpasar-born like me to go home and spending time with parents and relatives."
The holiday atmosphere around Denpasar city center was already thick on Tuesday. The main streets, such as Jl. Raya Puputan Niti Mandala and Jl. Teuku Umar, were not as packed as usual. Most stores will remain closed for three days (Tuesday to Thursday).
The laid-back atmosphere created problems for the Denpasar General Election Commission (KPUD) as workers had yet to hoist the flags of political parties' in all 10 designated spots across the provincial capital.
The flags have so far been hung in just two spots, in front of the Denpasar KPUD office and on Jl. Gajah Mada.
The remaining locations, on Jl. Sudirman, Teuku Umar six-way intersection, Teuku Umar Barat intersection, Buluh Indah intersection, Sanur intersection, Tohpati intersection, Ubung intersection and the intersection of Jl. Nangka and Jl. Gatot Subroto remained bare as of Wednesday.
Chairman of the Dempasar KPUD I Made Gede Ray Misno, earlier said the flags should had been hoisted at the 10 spots one day before the start of the offical campaigning period on Monday.