Tegalalang Rice Terraces, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
© Michele Falzone/Alam
Terraced fields of green
Welcome to the lush, green rice terraces of the Indonesian island of Bali. Twice a year, its people join together to celebrate the country's most important holiday, Galungan. This 10-day Balinese-Hindu milestone comes at the end of the traditional 210-day Balinese calendar, usually in March or April, and then again in September or October.
This spring, the festivities began on 14 April, when the Balinese invited the spirits of their ancient ancestors into their homes with prayers and other offerings draped from bamboo poles called penjor. Planted in the ground at homes or along roadsides and decorated with coconut leaves and flowers, penjor are used to hang offerings as a kind gesture towards the spirits. The tenth and final day of Galungan is called Kuningan, which comes on 24 April this year. To mark it, specially prepared yellow rice will be offered to the departing ancestors, a gift to accompany them on their return journey to the spirit world.