WHEN the Hindus celebrate Galungan festivity once in 210 days (one pawukon year), the most striking attribute is the erection of penjor. It poses one of the ritual paraphernalia made from a bamboo pole embellish with young coconut leaf or palm leaf equipped with ritual components. It is posted on the right side of house compound entrance.
According to the Aji Jayakasunu palm-leaf manuscript, the penjor denotes an expression of gratitude to God for the harvest yields and a sign for the ancestors that will come to earth to visit their descendants. Aside from containing leaf of decorative plants, flowers, lamak, bamboo shrine with semi-circular roof and sampiyan festoon at the upper end, it is also completed with tubers, fruit, cakes, coconut and white-yellow fabric.
At least, there are three kinds of penjor. Firstly, it is the sacred penjor commonly posted on Galungan, temple anniversary (piodalan) and other religious rituals. Meanwhile, this penjor has smaller variant used in caru exorcism rite, miseh rite for paddy plant and ritual for rice at granary. The two latter usually use palm midrib with simple paraphernalia.
The second is decorative penjor normally used in non-ritual activities such as art festival, village competition et cetera. Since it is used for non-ritual purposes, the makers can embellish it with unlimited ornaments, depending on their creativity.
Meanwhile, the last is Pancasila-style penjor. It was a commonplace penjor found in Bali during the era of New Order. The bamboo pole of some 1.5 meters is decorated with young coconut or palm leaf curvature comprising five clusters. It is posted at right and left roadside where one or more higher officials will make a visit.