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Home » Arts & Culture, Religion

A Balinese Birthday  

by on Friday, 25 April 2008No Comment | 3,063 views

Contrary to most of people in the world who are so interested with their birthday party that they are fond of creating something to make their birthday to be a luxurious moment, Balinese prefer to celebrate their birthday with spiritual touch. Balinese call it otonan.

Otonan is quite different from common birthday party. It is held twice a year because its celebration is based on wuku. Wuku itself is based on Balinese Pawukon system in which each cycle consists of 30 wuku. Each Wuku lasts for a week; so a cycle comprises of 210 days. The wuku is a bit similar of zodiac; each name reflects characters of someone who was born on that wuku. What wuku and day a Balinese was born; on that same wuku and day the otonan is held. This birthday celebration needs not a fancy dress because Balinese use only simple traditional dress on that celebration.

Balinese believe that they were born with four guardian brothers or sisters (kanda pat). When otonan is held, the four siblings are called to gather around the child and protect her/him. Then the child is hoped to be aware of who she/he actually is with help from his/her four siblings. If she/he doesn’t care with these siblings, the they will leave him/her then she/he will be vulnerable to any magical attack and tend to do ill conducts. Otonan is a day when Balinese aware of their self.

A Balinese mother always remember when her child’s otonan is though the mother is illiterate she can count correctly when the day of otonan is. Then mother will prepare all of stuffs needed; cakes, fruits, and the offerings for the otonan ceremony. After all of stuffs have been arranged on bale (it looks like bed) the child is called to perform the ritual.

First, the child has to pray in the family temple. Then she/he goes to bale. The child is sprinkled by holy water and her/his hands are cleansed spiritually. Priest or one of the parent utter a prayer, wishing her/his to be successful. At the end of ritual, her/his wrist will be banded by white or white-red-black thread. It is a symbol control; she/he will control him/herself not to do something bad.

Rituals are end. The child invites his/her brothers to have a meal together. His/her brothers have to take one of fruits or cakes. In Denpasar, the child will invite her/his brothers to magibung. Magibung is a Balinese words for a group of people having meal together with a big plate. They need not another plate. They will sit around the big plate. While they are eating they are usually joking and chatting.

Well, birthday needs not to be celebrated on luxurious party, Balinese prove it. On their birthday they still remember to their God.

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