Readying the Penjors

 
April 3, 2017   Ubud, XF16
 
 
Back they came to work for ten days, only to stop for another month, for the week of galungan was near, the time when the gods came down to earth, and long after they had departed the island would remain in a holiday mood. Colin McPhee, A House in Bali

I'd be lying if l said I planned my visit to Bali so as to hit their top two festivals. No, I had no idea there were any festivals at this time so I'll have to say the gods were smiling on me when I made my travel plans. Perhaps I need to make an offering of thanks.

Galungan, my second Balinese festival, celebrates the victory of good over evil, or dharma over adharma. The festival begins on the 11th week of the 210-day pawukon calendar and it lasts for something like eleven days.

While this Wednesday April 5th is Galungan itself, for the Balinese the preparations begin several days earlier. Ministering to all those gods is a lot of work. As I walk around town I see people - mostly women - working away, constructing the offerings.

Of course there are the penjor, the giant decorated bamboo poles that each household places in front of its home. Shrines are enhanced too with lots of rather gaudy decorations. And then there are several additional tasks. Three days prior to Galungan there is the cooking of bananas. Two days prior (today) is the making of fried rice cakes. One day prior (tomorrow) is the slaughter of pigs and chickens.

So tomorrow is the day of slaughter. Well, I saw chickens being killed last week. One minute they were walking around, a short time later they weren't. As to the pigs I saw something in town today that I wish I hadn't. I certainly didn't photograph it. It was a truck bed containing a number of large pigs, each confined in a cage barely larger than the pig itself. Oh my, I want to get that picture removed from my brain. I don't know what else to say except poor pigs.

On that sad note, let's look at a picture of my street and then pictures of preparation for the festival.

 
Sml    Med    Big
 
 
My street      
In Ubud, and much of Bali, the major streets - those wide enough for cars - tend to run north and south, parallel to the streams and rivers carrying water down the mountain. There are not many roads running east west as they would require expensive bridges. What they do have are smaller paths such as this connecting major streets.
 
My street      
In Ubud, and much of Bali, the major streets - those wide enough for cars - tend to run north and south, parallel to the streams and rivers carrying water down the mountain. There are not many roads running east west as they would require expensive bridges. What they do have are smaller paths such as this connecting major streets.
 
My street      
In Ubud, and much of Bali, the major streets - those wide enough for cars - tend to run north and south, parallel to the streams and rivers carrying water down the mountain. There are not many roads running east west as they would require expensive bridges. What they do have are smaller paths such as this connecting major streets.
 
Decorated shrines      
Everyone is decorating their shrines with colourful fabric and flowers. They appear to be wearing sarongs. Note the penjor on the left, ready for being stood up. There are holders embedded in the ground for the penjors.
 
Decorated shrines      
Everyone is decorating their shrines with colourful fabric and flowers. They appear to be wearing sarongs. Note the penjor on the left, ready for being stood up. There are holders embedded in the ground for the penjors.
 
Decorated shrines      
Everyone is decorating their shrines with colourful fabric and flowers. They appear to be wearing sarongs. Note the penjor on the left, ready for being stood up. There are holders embedded in the ground for the penjors.
 
Penjor detail      
Penjors are often staged along the road, held up by a bamboo lattice sitting on the sidewalk. Of course this penjor competes with parked scooters and pedestrians for space on the narrow sidewalks. Pedestrians are lowest priority so I often walk in the street.
 
Penjor detail      
Penjors are often staged along the road, held up by a bamboo lattice sitting on the sidewalk. Of course this penjor competes with parked scooters and pedestrians for space on the narrow sidewalks. Pedestrians are lowest priority so I often walk in the street.
 
Penjor detail      
Penjors are often staged along the road, held up by a bamboo lattice sitting on the sidewalk. Of course this penjor competes with parked scooters and pedestrians for space on the narrow sidewalks. Pedestrians are lowest priority so I often walk in the street.
 
Sign advertising upcoming festival      
 
Sign advertising upcoming festival      
 
Sign advertising upcoming festival      
 
Fine tuning a penjor      
This penjor is unusual in that it is wrapped in red. Note that the penjor is always placed to the left of the gate.
 
Fine tuning a penjor      
This penjor is unusual in that it is wrapped in red. Note that the penjor is always placed to the left of the gate.
 
Fine tuning a penjor      
This penjor is unusual in that it is wrapped in red. Note that the penjor is always placed to the left of the gate.
 
Decorated shrines      
 
Decorated shrines      
 
Decorated shrines      
 
Penjor base with offering      
A penjor has an offering at both the base and dangling from the tip. You can't have too many offerings.
 
Penjor base with offering      
A penjor has an offering at both the base and dangling from the tip. You can't have too many offerings.
 
Penjor base with offering      
A penjor has an offering at both the base and dangling from the tip. You can't have too many offerings.
 
Placing penjor in position      
 
Placing penjor in position      
 
Placing penjor in position      
 
Penjor being readied      

These fellows are taking a penjor out to the street, and getting ready to raise it. The green thing is the offering at the base.

I might mention here that I've no idea how well these pictures are looking if you're not on a tiny screen. For all I know I bolloxed them all up. You see I do everything on an iPhone, well except for the original pictures which are taken with my Fuji. Once I move them to the phone I cut their resolution so they won't take forever to load. Let's say, 15Mb down to about 0.5Mb typically. I cannot tell from here if I've overdone it, I'll know when i get home where i can re-do them if need be.

 
Penjor being readied      

These fellows are taking a penjor out to the street, and getting ready to raise it. The green thing is the offering at the base.

I might mention here that I've no idea how well these pictures are looking if you're not on a tiny screen. For all I know I bolloxed them all up. You see I do everything on an iPhone, well except for the original pictures which are taken with my Fuji. Once I move them to the phone I cut their resolution so they won't take forever to load. Let's say, 15Mb down to about 0.5Mb typically. I cannot tell from here if I've overdone it, I'll know when i get home where i can re-do them if need be.

 
Penjor being readied      

These fellows are taking a penjor out to the street, and getting ready to raise it. The green thing is the offering at the base.

I might mention here that I've no idea how well these pictures are looking if you're not on a tiny screen. For all I know I bolloxed them all up. You see I do everything on an iPhone, well except for the original pictures which are taken with my Fuji. Once I move them to the phone I cut their resolution so they won't take forever to load. Let's say, 15Mb down to about 0.5Mb typically. I cannot tell from here if I've overdone it, I'll know when i get home where i can re-do them if need be.

 
It just keeps coming      
 
It just keeps coming      
 
It just keeps coming      
 
The penjor end finally appears      
Actually I think there is more, the offering on the top is yet to come.
 
The penjor end finally appears      
Actually I think there is more, the offering on the top is yet to come.
 
The penjor end finally appears      
Actually I think there is more, the offering on the top is yet to come.
 
Penjor being staged      
Note the bamboo scaffold that holds the penjor off the ground, ready for being raised into its final position.
 
Penjor being staged      
Note the bamboo scaffold that holds the penjor off the ground, ready for being raised into its final position.
 
Penjor being staged      
Note the bamboo scaffold that holds the penjor off the ground, ready for being raised into its final position.
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