Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bali Journals: Part III, Full Metal Blessings, Hare Today-Sate Tommorrow

Ayu arrived yesterday at 10am, loaded me into her comfortable Toyota SUV and off we went for a two hour drive into the central highlands to Bedugul. It was the festival of Tumpek Landep... an important day in the Balinese ritual calendar.

In days gone by, Tumpek was the day of giving thanks and for sharpening and caring for implements made of metal, especially weapons invested with magical powers such as the curved bladed Kris, a ritual dagger, swords and other metal tools. 

In modern times, Tumpek has been expanded to include nearly all things metal used in daily life... cars, motorbikes, farming implements, etc. The word Landep translated in english to "sharp" & on this day, families come together to pray, receive blessings of holy water and repair, sharpen, clean and decorate with ritual offerings all of their metal tools. 

On a deeper level, Tumpek is the day when one prays and meditates also to clean & sharpen the most of human tools, the mind. 

What I thought was to be a wedding ceremony (something was obviously lost in the translation the day the invitation was accepted and plans were made) ended up being a day long ceremony at the lake temple Pura Ulun Danu Bratan nestled along the shore of beautiful Lake Bratan. The temple, important to the metal smiths (of the caste known as Pande) of the island, was the scene of a colorful series of rituals and the opportunity for Pande families to come together in their finest ceremonial dress and share a day together praying, enjoying to cool mountain air & picnicking. Ayu's family, being Pande silver & goldsmiths from the village of Celuk, were obligated to attend the days ceremonies and most fortunately for me, dragged me along to witness the pomp & pageantry.

Tradition In The Modern Age

After making their initial offerings at the temple complex, the family spread out a gorgeous feast on the temple lawn... spiced Balinese Chicken (Ayam Betutu), Nasi (cooked rice) with a delicious pickled samba made of onion, shallots, chili (and who knows what else), peanuts, peeled cucumber.... all while the care taking priests of the temple made offerings, chanted mantras and performed preliminary rituals in preparation for the main event.

A short time after the picnic, the High Priest arrived, dressed itself in the holy garb of the Pendana as the attendees put away their meals & gathered closer around the temple to pray. The lesser priests moved through the crowd, dowsing the faithful with holy water while the heavens did the same, opening up with frequent heavy downpours of rain thru the later afternoon rituals.

Tools and mind's sharpened to satisfaction, and a heavy rain drenching the crowd, we made our way back to the car... heading now to one of Ayu's favorite food stalls in the Bedugul Market, a place specializing in all dished prepared from rabbit. Ayu ordered for our group... rabbit sate (sate kelinci), rabbit soup, nasi, sambal and packets of delicious rice flour chips, much like tortilla, chips flavored with peanuts. We took our meal inside the tiny warung (food stall) while a torrential downpour beat on the roof overhead... then back to the car, descending the winding mountain road through picturesque villages of organizing produce & strawberry farms before eventually ending up back in Ubud in the early evening.


Lunch With The Girls
Bunny On A Stick

Shelter From The Storm
Ayu & Karin

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