Unique Rituals in Bali to Experience – Part 1

 

The Province of Bali is famous for many reasons. It has many beautiful beaches. You can do lots of activities there. There are various kinds of culinary, either locals or internationals. And of course, they have strong culture that they preserve very seriously. One way to preserve their culture is by keep doing their traditional ritual regularly. And these rituals may be found unique by the tourists.

Before this, we have already explained some unique rituals that may be attractive to you. But that was not all. There are still several other unique rituals that you may not miss to experience. To complete that list, check this out:

4. Tumpek Kandang

  • Time : Every 210 days. The last one was on September 24th 2014
  • Location : On local’s cattle, zoo, or conservation center

People in Bali believe that every living creature has their own part for keeping the balance of the ecosystem, including the animals. That is why they have this ritual. Tumpek Kandang is a ritual that is intended to show respect towards animal. Show respect towards animal does not mean that they worship those animals. They worship God Pasupati, the God who created the animals. Essentially, people worship God Pasupati by showing respect to the creature He created.

Tumpek Kandang towards Monkeys at Monkey Forest, Ubud (Source: Flickr. Credit: made yudistira)
Tumpek Kandang towards Monkeys at Monkey Forest, Ubud
(Source: Flickr. Credit: made yudistira)

In the ritual, they also pray for the animals to stay healthy and safe. Otherwise, the eco-system would be at risk in ruining. Mostly, the animals they do the ritual on are the cattle animals. This is because cattle animals have been very helpful in supporting human’s life by producing foods, dairies, and money.

They also do the ritual towards the animal at the zoo. This is because the zoo animals are also very helpful in supporting and entertaining human’s life. Also, it may attract tourists.

Tumpek Kandang is also known by the name “Tumpek Uye”. The ritual is held on every 210 days. The last one was on September 24th 2014. So if you wish to see this ritual, you can do the counting by yourself. The greatest Tumpek Kandang ritual can be seen on Bali Zoo. There are about 350 animals in this zoo and about 75 of them are endangered species.

 

5. Mepandes or Mesagih or Metatah

  • Time : Unspecified
  • Location : Unspecified

Mepandes is also known by the name Mesagih or Metatah. It is a ritual of cutting teeth. The ritual is done when a boy or a girl has reached the adultery. It is sign by a menstruation for the girl and a change of voice for the boy. The ritual is purposed to cut off the sad ripu (six natural bad behaviors of a human). Those six behaviors are lust, greed, anger, mind lost, confused, and jealous.

A Girl Undergo Teeth-Cutting Ritual (Source: Flickr. Credit: Bambang Subyakto)
A Girl Undergo Teeth-Cutting Ritual
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Bambang Subyakto)

The ritual is started by a saint praying on a holly place. The kid who is going to do the ritual is then begs for salvation. The saint will then spray her with holly water and cut her hair a little bit. After that, they will start the teeth cutting process. The teeth to be cut are the six upfront teeth. Each tooth represents one bad behavior.

Although it may sound painful, it does not hurt at all when your teeth are being cut. This is because they do not cut the whole teeth in this ritual. They just rasp those teeth. After the teeth cutting, the kid would be purified in order to avoid bad lucks in her life. She then will pray to the Gods and ask for a good life in the future.

There is no specific date to do this ritual. If you wish to see this ritual, you can go to the nearest Pura and ask for information. Mepandes ritual is mostly done in a Pura. So they might have a schedule when nearby kid is about to be teeth-cut.

 

6. Ngaben

  • Time : Unspecified
  • Location : Uspecified

Now here is the greatest ritual in Bali ever. Ngaben is a cremation ritual in Bali intended to send their deceased family to the afterlife. While every funeral used to be filled with cries and sadness, Ngaben is filled with joy. They believe that mourning will only make it harder to the deceased to enter the next life.

The Cremation Begins (Source: Flickr. Credit: dewa rastama)
The Cremation Begins
(Source: Flickr. Credit: dewa rastama)

A ceremony of Ngaben will take up a lot of money. If the deceased was from noble family, the family could spend up to $ 75000 for his Ngaben. If the deceased was just a normal person, the ceremony at least would take up about $ 15000. Because it needs a lot of money, sometimes they do not hold Ngaben ritual as soon as their family passed away. Sometimes they need years to collect enough money to afford the ritual.

If the family is too poor, they do not need to hold a personal Ngaben for their deceased family. Instead, they could just burry him and “get a lift” on somebody else’s Ngaben. To get a lift, you just need to put the photograph of your deceased family during that Ngaben and cremate the photo as a symbol.

Other solution is by holding a mass Ngaben. Mass Ngaben usually is hold by the villagers where the people are too poor to afford personal Ngaben. They will collect the money amongst themselves and cremate the picture of their deceased family altogether.

The ritual is started by summoning the God. Sometimes it is on the crossroad. Sometimes it is on the front yard of their home. After that, the deceased body will be washed and the saint will write a sacred mantra on a white cloth.

Then, they will pray for his afterlife while presenting sacrifices to the Gods. After the prayer, the deceased body will be put in a coffin to be brought to the cemetery. The coffin used in Ngaben is not usual coffin. Instead they make a huge carriage with fancy decoration.

The Sophisticated Coffin is Brought by Many People Because It Is Heavy (Source: Flickr. Credit: I Nengah Januartha)
The Sophisticated Coffin is Brought by Many People Because It Is Heavy
(Source: Flickr. Credit: I Nengah Januartha)

After reaching the cemetery, people will cremate the body by burning the whole coffin. They will not put off the fire. Instead, they will wait until the body and the coffin are perfectly burnt. After that, the family will collect all the ashes and put it in a small jar. They later will take the ash jar to the beach and throw the ashes to the sea. This is intended to let go of what remains of the deceased one. This way, he will be able to enter the afterlife in a full shape.

 

Rituals in Bali mean a lot for the people. It is not just about preserving their culture, but also to keep their quality of life. This meaningful purpose is what makes these rituals very attractive. That is what makes the tourists are willing to come and join in, because they want to experience that kind of feeling.

Beside rituals, Bali people will sometimes hold sacred ceremonies according to Hindu religion. These ceremonies include Nyepi, Galungan, Kuningan, and any other Hindunese Holly Days. This kind of ceremony is not part of traditional rituals, but merely religious deed for the Hindunese.

 

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