Galungan is the major festival of the Balinese pawukon calendar, and celebrates the triumph of virtue (Dharma) over evil (Adharma). During the 10 day period, all the Balinese gods are thought to descend to earth for the festivities, which centre on the mysterious Barong dance.
There are various forms of the dance, but in the most holy (and dangerous) the Barong protects his supporters from the evil witch Rangda. She compels them to try to stab themselves with their krises, while he ensures that the krises have no effect and induces a mystical trance-like state. During Galungan these Barong leap from temple to temple giving spontaneous performances while other Balinese musicians and dancers provide further entertainment. Galungan culminates with Kuningan, when beautifully made offerings are given at temples to bid farewell to celestial spirits and ancestors.
What if America had a 10 day celebration of virtue over evil? Christmas was once a 12 day celebration and ended on January 6th, a day called “Feast of Epiphany”, though how much celebration of actual virtue was done, if any at all, is a mystery to me. In America 2010, people are to consumed with the celebrating the opposite, the triumph of evil over virtue. It’s pretty self evident, so no need to delve into it. What i will do is list 3 virtues that we can all strengthen and cultivate….
1. Respect For Life – This basic and primary virtue is the foundation one must live and act from, if one is to cultivate a healthy relationship with oneself, family & friends, with other people, ethnicities, cultures and with animals, nature, etc.
2. Allowance – This is a virtue most often overlooked, yet is so essential to harmony amongst individuals and groups. To possess allowance is to allow others to be who they are and exercise their free-will choice (as long as their choices do not violate the free-will of others) without attempting to force your own way of thought, action and being on them.
3. Giving – A virtue we should be consistently mindful in cultivating. It’s unfortunate that we live in a society that markets & promotes taking as if it were a virtue, and throws insults toward people who actually give (unless there’s a crisis, when giving becomes cool). Sadly, because of this, even givers have forgotten how to give. When one gives, one must give from the heart. Giving from the heart energizes life, which in reciprocation, energizes more life. Giving can come in many forms. From monetary to an honest and open ear, to a shoulder to lean on. Make an effort to give something to life daily.
Selamat Galungan (I’ll post another for Kuningan)