What is Galungan Day?

Galungan Day

Galungan Day

Galungan is an Balinese Hindu ritual based on the 210 day Balinese calendar. It is a celebration of the triumph of good (Dharma) over evil (Adharma),
You know it’s Galungan when the tall carved bamboo poles adorned with decorations, called Penjor are in front of every building in Bali. Some of the penjors are modest, with only simple decorations, others can be grandiose with lustrous ornaments. Whatever the penjor they all carry the same meaning, to thank the gods for all that’s good.

The eve of Galungan is Penampahan Galungan, animals are sacrificed as special offerings which are meant to get rid of negativity in both the bhuana agung (the environment of the individual human being) and the bhuana alit (the inner world of the individual human being); the meat is afterwards prepared and cooked for traditional Balinese dishes such as lawar, babi guling, and satay. The Balinese, especially the children, are looking forward to Penampahan Galungan as it is a typical family party day with lots of delicious dishes, similar to how some nationalities celebrate on Christmas Eve.

From early morning on Galungan Day whiffs of incense carry through the air. The atmosphere is buoyant, like the western Christmas day. Everybody is coming out in their formal Balinese attire to visit neighbours and relatives.

The Galungan celebration continues until Kuningan, 10 days later. Kuningan is the day that marks the end of the Galungan festive season, by the departure of the ancestors, back to their own world. The ceremony surrounding Kuningan refers to special offerings made of yellow turmeric rice. Yellow is also the colour of the god Wisnu, the protector of the Hindu trinity.

For the non Balinese on the island you will notice shops, restaurants and other businesses owned or with high numbers of Balinese staff will be closed in the lead up to Galungan Day, possibly a couple of days later and on Kuningan Day. This is because Balinese people must travel back to their original village and assist the family and local community with the preparations required.

Below are the dates for upcoming Galungan holidays
Galungan: July 24th 2019, February 19th 2020, September 16th 2020, April 14th 2021, November 10th 2021.
Kuningan: August 3rd 2019, February 29th 2020, September 26th 2020, April 24th 2021, November 20th 2021.

Restore your Balance at Bali Spirit Festival

Known as one of the largest and best yoga festivals in all of Asia, BaliSpirit Festival returns  to Ubud this 24-31 March 2019 for its 12th edition.

More than just a festival, this 8-day experience includes everything from yoga to meditation, dance, breath work, healing and authentic relating – the BaliSpirit Festival is a space of transformation, exploration, connection and community.

The Theme
This year’s theme is ‘Restore the Balance’: as world-renowned teachers share their workshops and wisdom with you to offer new paths to inner harmony, balance and collective well-being, you come back to the simplicity of soul-to-soul connections, make new friends, embrace new ideas and start to embody what balance truly means.

Freshly recharged, connected to the earth, you become part of a new reality which is creating a healthy and vibrant planet, restored and balanced!

The Experience
The festival hosts talents from all over the world to bring an alchemy of sound, healing and movement to life! Surrounded by Bali’s lush green rice fields and jungle patches, the festival venue will be at The Bali Purnati Center for the Arts, a 15-minute drive from Ubud. Here you are invited to take part in yoga classes, organic markets, musical performances, holistic healing workshops and much more with over 150 presenters taking part and guiding the way.

There is a huge range of classes, workshops and group sessions from all kinds of practices. Be it Jivamukti Yoga, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Hatha or Kundalini, or one of the more eclectic workshops such as Shamanic Flow Yoga, Laughter Yoga, Cacao Ceremonies, Sound Baths or Ecstatic Dance, rest assured that you’ll rediscover your love for moving the body in unison with others in a completely new way!

Fuelled by fresh coconut water, nutritional meals and high vibrational organic foods from the island available at the festival, this unforgettable week is going to leave you supercharged and inspired in all the good ways.

At night, a world of music awakens on the main stage with world sounds, performers, poets, dancers and singers sharing their vibes.

Melasti – Bali Islands Purification

Usually around 2 days before Nyepi is the Melasti Ceremony. During this ceremony village communities travel together from their village to closest source of holy water, to some this may be a holy spring, to others its the sea. There are hundreds of people dresses in their Balinese formal ceremony attire, walking in the procession. Some carrying umbrellas, some playing the Balinese gamelan traditional music, some carry the cask that has the villages prized articles inside. As you can imagine the ceremony causes traffic ‘ issues ‘ given that many main roads are blocked for quite a while. The aim of Melasti Ceremony is to remove impurities, of a village. At the beach, river, lake or holy spring the casks and items in which ancestral spirits reside are laid down. Here the priest will pray and chant his mantras, flicking holy water, his flower and ringing his prayer bell. Around him, worshippers join in prayer. Why the beach or holy spring? Water is a cleansing element in Balinese Hindu belief, thus, at the sea, all can be purified. Both positive and negative elements are brought here to be cleansed, as in the Balinese belief of opposing forces are equally important for balance in the world. So during Melasti Ceremony, both people and the world around them are purified, cleansed of bad thoughts, deeds and negative influences.

Nyepi Day – March 7th 2019

Nyepi is Bali’s  “Day of Silence” that  this year is Thursday March 7th 2019.. It is a Hindu celebration mainly in Bali. Nyepi Day is a day of silence, fasting and meditation for the Balinese. The evening prior there is a parade of Ogoh Ogoh (paper mache monsters) in every village to scare aware the evil spirits. The monsters represent all objects, people or anything that can disrupt human life. Observed from 6.a.m until 6.a.m next morning, Nyepi is silent so the bad spirits scared aware the night before edo not return. It is also a day reserved for self reflection.  The main restrictions are no lightning fire (and light must be keep low), no working, no entertainment or pleasure no traveling and for some no talking or eating at all.

The effect of these prohibitions is that Bali and its usual bustling streets are empty. There is little or no noise from TV or Radios and few sign of activity are seen even inside homes. The only people to be seen outdoors are the pecalang, traditional security who patrol the street to ensure the prohibitions are being followed. Although Nyepi is primarily a Hindu Holiday, non Hindu residents and tourists are not exempt from restrictions. Although they are free to do as they wish inside their hotel, no one is allowed on to the beaches or streets and the only airport in Bali remains closed for the entire day. The Exception granted are for emergency vehicles responding to life threatening conditions and women about give to birth.

On day after Nyepi, known as Ngembak Geni (Relighting the fire), Social activity picks up again quickly, as families and friends gather to ask forgiveness from one another, and to perform certain religious ritual together. Fires and electricity are allowed again, and cooking of food resumes.

If you are already staying in Bali on the Day of Silence, enjoy the relaxing time. Nyepi is definitely something different and original and you cannot experience it anywhere else in the world!

Lots of Fun

By Harry Mooney, Age 9 Last week my family and I went to Bisma Cottages in Ubud and had a hell of a lot of fun even though we were only there for 2 days. In Ubud you can go on this amazing tour to see Mount Batur, ride a bike through villages and rice paddies and try lots of coffee and tea. Some really good places around Bisma are Umah Pizza, Putri Spa and the Ubud Market. I loved my stay at Bisma Cottages, it was like we had the swimming pool to ourselves.


Ubud is my favourite place in all of Bali

By Jada Anver (14 years) I came to Ubud excited for the monkey forest, but little did I know, there was so much more! Bisma Cottages was beautiful and quaint, the staff were lovely, we always had the pool to ourselves and I had delicious banana pancakes every morning. But the highlight wasn’t only the hotel, It was everything surrounding it. There was the Ubud market, amazing restaurants and the Ubud Monkey Forest, all close to the hotel. There was so many shops nearby and the Ubud Market was an amazing experience . I learnt how to barter and had a chance to see the culture. We also went to heaps of amazing restaurants, I can’t pick my favourite. Whether it was eating dinner with the view of the rice paddocks and the setting sun, or having chocolate crepes at night overlooking the busy street. I loved every part of it! Ubud is NOT a place for only for relaxing, it is a place for non-stop adventure too. We went on a 24km bike ride all down hill, our tour guide stopped at spots we could experience the culture and how Balinese people live. We went inside a Balinese home, a school and a village. The monkey forest is absolutely incredible. They will climb all over you, and it was so much fun. We also went white water rafting which which was so thrilling. Overall the activities around the hotel are a must do. We had a really nice driver who is the Manager at the hotel who took us to all these places. Ubud is my favourite place in all of Bali (and I have been to Bali 18 times) this hotel is the best place to stay if you want to be near everything. I had heaps of fun and never will forget this trip to Ubud. Definitely a holiday to remember.

Me Time in The Mountains

With an increased focus on health and wellness Ubud is fast becoming a world recognized place to spend some ‘ me ‘ time. There is such a wide range of holistic treatments, yoga classes, meditation and spiritual experiences that ‘ every ” ‘ body ” can find what suits their needs. Bisma Cottages is a small oasis located in central Ubud. Guests can arrange many of these experiences after consultation with the Manager who himself is a meditation and Reiki practitioner. The intuitive blind healer is a resident healer here who has a gifted intuitive, awareness and touch. During each individual session she assess and assists with emotional and physical issues and may make recommendations for appropriate herbs to treat various conditions. This may include her families secret herbal oil blend that has been passed down from her grandfather, a Balinese healer. Accompanied by an assistant both women work harmoniously to realign and release any blocked energy pattern through body work or reflexology. The session could take 60 until 90 minutes depending on individual assessment. With translator assistant the healer will provide suggestions related to health and well being. Another very special ritual to experience is a water purification. Tirta Empul or Holy Spring Temple is only 30 minute drive and included in Bisma Cottages Highlights of Ubud Day Tour. Their Manager who is from the area will prepare the offerings required and personally escort guests. Having grown up here he is not only informative but can tell his own stories about attending Balinese Hindu ceremonies at this special place all of his life. This day is usually the most memorable of everyone’s Bali holiday. Bisma Cottages has six rooms in total. Four cosy, wooden Balinese style air conditioned abodes and two larger deluxe rooms with open lounge areas to accommodate families or travellers who are keen for a little more room to relax. One of these spacious options is located on the upper level and features huge picture windows to take full advantage of the rice field view. Each room is afforded its own en suite bathroom, beds are blissfully comfortable, complete with mattress toppers, and mosquito nets. You would do well to find a bath tub in Bali that boasts a better view than that of Bisma Cottages’ 2nd floor deluxe cottage ! Secluded and nestled between the buildings is a pristine pool area with sun beds and aqua bean bags so you can lie back, cool off and soak up some Vitamin D. Being a smaller property has its benefits and at Bisma Cottages you rarely have to share the pool area with other guests giving you private pool time without the price tag. Plus any time you feel like a complimentary cuppa, just call Ketut and he’ll bring it right to you. Experiences are why we travel and after having a Ubud ‘ tree change ” you will leave feeing relaxed and recharged and ready to conquer the world ! BISMA COTTAGES Jalan Bisma No. 35, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia Ph: +62 (361) 473 1607 Email : reservations@bismacottagesubud.com Website : www.bismacottagesubud.com

Bisma Cottages – A Slice of Mountain Paradise

It’s no secret that Ubud is the emerald jewel in the crown of the Island of the Gods. Though merely an hour at most from Seminyak, it’s a world away from the madding crowd and mayhem of Bali’s more Southern tourist haunts. And what better way to enjoy a tree change than to spend a few days at an intimate boutique hotel in the heart of this culture rich community. If you are keen to experience a little more than just four boring walls of a high end hotel room, I recommend a stay at Bisma Cottages. With its delightful joglo style rooms, this quaint accommodation house is picture perfect! Pretty stone pathways wind past manicured gardens to private wooden cottages complete with verandahs on which to kick off your shoes, relax and absorb the atmosphere of the ‘real’ Bali, minus any incessant whine of motor bikes. Secluded and nestled between the buildings is a pristine pool area with sun beds and aqua bean bags so you can lie back, cool off and soak up some rays. Bisma Cottages is located along Jalan Bisma, a quiet and serene street, yet literally a ten minute walk to the centre of the action. Surrounded by boutique style accommodation, there are no obnoxious, concrete monstrosities here to block your views! It may be only small, but Jalan Bisma plays host to a treasure trove of tasty eateries, art galleries, working rice fields, top quality spas and even an organic market garden. Wide enough to accommodate only a minimal amount of local traffic, it’s quiet and safe for one to walk, talk and take in the sounds, sights and smells of the Ubud experience.

 There are six rooms in total at Bisma Cottages; four cosy, wooden Balinese style air conditioned cottages and two larger deluxe rooms at the rear of the property with open lounge areas to accommodate families or travellers who are keen for a little more room to relax. One of these spacious options is located on the upper level and features huge floor to ceiling windows to take full advantage of the beautiful rice paddy view. Each room is afforded its own en suite and you would do well to find a bath tub in Bali that boasts a better view than that of Bisma Cottages’ 2nd floor suite! Beds are blissfully cushy, complete with mattress toppers and mosquito nets. Rooms have fridges to keep your beverages frosty with hair dryer, iron and board all available on request. Deluxe rooms both have TV and DVD player with the latest releases available from reception. Any time you feel like a complimentary cuppa, just call Ketut and he’ll bring it to your door. Bisma Cottage hospitality makes you feel like family! A light breakfast is included and delivered to your room each morning, breakfast on the balcony is a lovely start to the day. Seriously spoilt for choice, travellers to Ubud have some of Bali’s best restaurants to select from and a recent trend has seen internationally renowned chefs the likes of Chris Salans, Will Meyrick and Will Goldfarb swapping Seminyak for Ubud to share their latest culinary adventures. With Hujan Locale, Locavore and Room for Dessert only minutes away from your hotel, the struggle is real people, and deciding where to dine does indeed become a dilemma! Priced to please, a stay at the intimate Bisma Cottages is easy on the pocket, yet despite its minimal tariff, this budget, boutique beauty offers everything you need to experience the essence of Ubud. So it’s no surprise that rooms fill quickly and advanced bookings are recommended to avoid disappointment. With Bisma Cottages’ popularity on the rise, word is out and guests returning for repeat stays now tend towards booking online directly to secure their preferred room! To experience your own slice of mountain paradise, check out their website: bismacottagesubud.com or follow them on instagram @bismacottages for their latest accommodation deals and up to the minute events in the area. If there were to be any regrets regarding my blissful Bali escape to the mountains, it would only be that I did not plan to stay for longer. Three nights is really the minimum one needs to stay to be able to truly appreciate the beauty of Ubud and it surrounds. Still, there’s always next time……… BISMA COTTAGES Jalan Bisma No. 35, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia Ph: +62 (361) 473 1607 Email : reservations@bismacottagesubud.com Website : www.bismacottagesubud.com