The Sri Jaya Kasunu manuscript states that the penjor symbolizes the mountain and the mountain itself is the symbol of the universe. 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 neighborhood look splendid.
Material for a Penjor
The basic material of a penjor is a curved bamboo pole. The pole is then decorated with yellow coconut leaves, pala bungkah (roots – sweet potato or cassava), pala gantung (fruit – cucumbers, oranges, bananas), pala wija (cereal – rice, corn), plawa (leaves), traditional cakes, 11 Chinese coins, and a small shrine with some offerings.
All materials for a penjor constitute peoples’ basic needs, signifying that we should take care of those things. In addition, livestock sacrificed for the ceremony are believed to become better creatures in their next life.