Every celebration of the feast of Galungan and Kuningan, Hindus in Bali will install a Penjor in front of their house.
The Penjor is a tall, curved bamboo pole decorated with coconut leaves with an offering at the base. Mostly seen during the special ceremony of Galungan and Kuningan Balinese Hindus make a Penjor as part of almost every important ceremony, especially for the anniversary temple celebrations. Due to their length of sometimes more than ten metres, they droop charmingly over the pavement like an ancient street lamp.
Penjor base material is bamboo pole as a symbol of the mountain. The bamboo poles decorated as beautifully as possible with the leaf and palm leaves. Then contains a variety of crops such as coconuts, rice, etc.
Therefore, for the Balinese the penjor is synonymous with Mount Agung, the highest and holiest mountain in Bali.
The aim of erecting penjors at Galungan is to show devotion to God in His manifestation as Hyang Giri Pati (the God of the mountain). Mountains with deep forests hold a lot of water, which flows into rivers. This then fulfils water needs for irrigation and drinking water.
During Galungan celebrations, each family erects a Penjor outside their gate, which makes the whole neighbourhood look splendid.
At Galungan time, Balinese Hindus erect a penjor in front of their houses to symbolise the dominance of good (dharma) over evil (adharma), as well as offering thanks to God for the fruits of the Earth. About halfway down the pole they attach a small cage in the shape of a triangle and made from bamboo, called sanggah cucuk. Offerings are placed in this and it is considered to be a temporary “throne” for the Gods when they come down to Earth for Galungan.
If you take a close look at a Galungan penjor, you’ll notice that it’s also ornamented with coconut leaves called sampian and also long strips of white and yellow material to symbolise that it is a holy offering.
Due to their innate beauty, these days penjors not only serve a religious function. They also feature at weddings, art performances, hotels, and at any occasion where there are guests of honour.