Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Galungan (Galu-what?)

Ask me how many times I've mispronounced that word. Innumerable. Luckily the locals are very forgiving.

So it's Galungan here on Bali. It's a huge holiday. The stores close down for a few days and general holiday spirit abounds. We are trying to understand it by comparing it to Christmas and Thanksgiving.These decorations are all over the streets. Sort of like Christmas lights at home. Each family makes their own "penjor" out of coconut leaves and displays it on the street in front of their house or shop. The penjor are the tall poles hanging out over the street in this picture. Our friend Made told us it takes a whole day to make them. It looks to me like this village got together and decided to make everyone's decorations the same. It's really beautiful driving around this weekend.
This is how they decorated a local temple. Everything is made from leaves and by hand. The arches are all made of folded up long leaves, as well as the decorations on the posts that are rounded. It's amazing.
We were invited to Made and Kadek's for part of their celebration. The families start the sacrifices the day before Galungan and have a huge feast. They gave us tons of food, kind of like a Thanksgiving dinner, only the main dishes involved pork - including satay and sausage. The families sacrifice pigs and chickens very early in the morning and spend the early part of the day cooking them. Above is Kadek, Made's wife, getting all of the offerings put together. As I understand it, the men mostly do the cooking on this day (kind of like the Memorial Day barbeque) and the women do the offerings.

It's very time consuming, but the whole family is there, so all of the women are working together (as well as the men). Kadek's two sisters joined her. These are the family altars. During the three hours we were there Kadek's youngest sister spent a lot of time placing offerings on all of these, and around the whole compound (the head of the stairs, the foot of the stairs, all doorways, the entryway, etc.)

Charlie and I are continuously made aware of how much time and money the Balinese put into pleasing the gods and their ancestors. Because Made & Kadek recently lost two babies, their whole family is only allowed to put out 25% of the normal offerings. Additionally, Kadek cannot put out any offerings herself, and their are several other restrictions as well.

Imagine grieving over the loss of your babies and then being anything but comforted by God. Imagine suffering a great loss and the whole village assuming you did something to upset your ancestors (yourself thinking that maybe they're right). Imagine living in fear of doing something to bring bad luck on yourself or your family.

I don't have a wonderful conclusion, and the people seem so steeped in Hinduism that it seems impossible to overcome. But God can do anything, and He wants everyone to choose Him. That's something I have to remember.


christy said...

hearing your descriptions of the worship in bali makes me all the more grateful for the grace of our merciful God. what an opportunity for prayer, too! it is really fun to see how other cultures celebrate and have festivals, but there is always that underlying sadness of seeing a heart without God. what a neat thing for your kids to be able to experience firsthand, and have a chance to gain compassion for others who are different from them.

Monica said...

Hey this is very informative on the life of the people on Bali. I did not know some of this. I need to do a post on mine about Galungan too. Thanks for the information and that is neat that you got to see all what they do. Though it is terribly sad and when I hear about that with Made and his wife I pray they would know the God of all conforts.

be_a_Mary said...

i just cannot fathom what it would be like to not be able to go to God in my sorrow. I confess I am not nearly as good at going to him for praise as I am during the most desperate times, begging for patience or comfort or assurance of His love. It would be soooo hollow without Hope.

annecourager said...

That's only 25% of the regular offering that Kadek is working on in that photo?

How very sad....immensely interesting, but sad. So help me understand this: she and her husband have lost two children, and they have to stay away from their gods? Or try not to be noticed by them by giving just a small offering?

What's heartbreaking to me is that they KEEP TRYING with those gods, making offering. But I can point to any number of American so-called Christians who are angry/bitter and have given God the heave-ho because of some wretched circumstance in their life.

You've given good food for thought today. :) thanks!

joysnatcher said...

yeah, when Made told us it was only 25% I was surprised. I have no idea how they do it when they can do the whole offering. There wasn't much room to put anything else. AND you can only see about 25% of what she was actually working on in that picture!

Charlie and I ask the same questions. I wish they would just turn to God! But not yet. Maybe someday.

Anonymous said...

It is sad! Giving so much to a god that will not be giving back anything.

Interesting to hear about. What happens to that food? I assume that is food. Do the priests eat it?

I went back for this history of what your business is all about. Very interesting. =)

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