To be precise, Galungan slightly shifts in the Gregorian calendar, as per the Balinese tradition following the Pawukon calendar with 210 days in a year.
On the Sunday before the celebration, known as Penyekeban, green bananas are covered with clay pots to expedite ripening. To enhance the ripening process, coconut husks are placed under the overturned pot and set on fire. Numerous bananas are needed for offerings, and everything must be done properly.
The day before Galungan, known as Penampahan, involves men slaughtering pigs in the temple. They then prepare various spicy dishes (such as 'lilit,' a type of satay), and 'babi guling' (roasted pig).
Finally, Galungan itself is a day of prayers when families gather at the ancestral temple. Ideally, work should not be done, so many local businesses are closed.
The day after Galungan, Manis Galungan, is a time to visit friends. Five days later comes Kuningan when the souls of ancestors, who descended for the festivities, return. This period involves even more offerings and ceremonies.
Children run around the Barong on the streets, hiding under the folds of its costume. The same children then participate in the festive processions. Serious adult Barongs move through villages and, upon invitation, enter homes to drive away evil spirits. Children seem to carry out a similar mission and then frolic along the streets. A strikingly adorned and beautifully crafted Barong is also featured.
This is how the celebration of Galungan looks like:
According to one of the two common versions, Balinese people celebrate the victory of the god Indra over the semi-demon Mayadenawa. Galungan falls on the day when, according to legend, Indra pierced the villain with an arrow as he fled, assuming one of his countless forms. This day symbolizes the triumph of religion over disbelief, the victory of good over evil, and the salvation of the world from dark forces.
Reading between the lines, or simply put, drawing a symbolic analogy: Mayadenawa was a powerful villain, as villains usually are. Despite having all the cards in his hand, he had the ability to transform into anything he wished and to be invisible. Establishing his godless regime on the island, destroying temples, and punishing believers, Mayadenawa disrupted the balance. Rivers that once nourished dried up, hordes of rodents descended upon the rice fields, causing famine. At that point, the priests prayed to Indra to relieve the island of its suffering.
By the way, one of the sacred places, Tirta Empul, where Balinese people still cleanse themselves of sins, is linked to the most spectacular battle in this confrontation. Mayadenawa infiltrated the sleeping camp of the heavenly army and instantly created a source with poisoned water. He moved silently, trying not to make a sound and tiptoeing - the place where, according to legend, this happened is now called Tampak Siring ("tampak" - Balinese for foot; "siring" - Balinese for edge).
In contrast, in the morning, after the naturally widespread poisoning of the short-sighted army, which for some reason did not suspect anything in the suddenly appearing retreat, Indra erected the sacred healing spring (Tirta Empul). Shooting an arrow, Indra destroyed the villain transformed into a rock. The blood flowing from the rock formed a river, called Pekerisan, cursed by Indra, terrifying the Balinese who had recently started using it for agriculture. According to the legend, after the curse was lifted, you could cultivate rice with water from Pekerisan, but you couldn't eat it.
Jokes aside, legends as legends, modern Balinese, like their ancestors, believe and adhere to their laws, faithfully following established traditions. They take magic seriously but don't openly associate with white or black magic.