Balinese “Green traditions”
On Saturday, January 7, 2012, Balinese will Tumpek Wariga or Tumpek Uduh, a celebration to honor the plants especially those that are useful in Balinese everyday life. This celebration can be viewed as one of many Balinese “green traditions” that aims to preserve and the environment. Here are some Balinese ‘green traditions’ that are still observed:
On this holiday, blessing ceremony is given to plant as sign of gratitude and also serves as a prayer to God for good harvest and prosperity. On this occasion the useful plants is decorated and a special offering made of rice porridge is presented. This ceremony also reflects an acknowledgement of plant vital role in Balinese everyday life.
When you are in Bali, you will have a chance to see one or two big trees decorated with black and white cloth with a shrine or a little offering place under them. These trees are considered sacred trees by Balinese and can not be cut without proper ceremony. Most of the trees are centuries old. These trees are preserved and presented a special offering on holiday and some of them daily especially the banyan trees that is usually located in traditional markets or palace. A tree can turn into a sacred tree mostly because of age, size and the place it grows as well as its supernatural qualities or supernatural phenomenon that is caused by the trees. Importantly, this sacred tree tradition can be viewed as a unique way to preserve the big old trees that functions as home for animals such as birds, geckos, lizards, snakes, bats and so on.
Balinese offering is a way to preserve the plants especially those that are used to make the offering. And the plants that are used to make the offering are not just coconut, bamboo and banana but many other plants. For example, in an average cremation ceremony more that 50 different species of plants are used, some plants are needed for their leaves, some for their flowers, their barks, etc. The preservation of these useful plants is a must for the continuation of Balinese religious ceremony.
There are some villages in Bali that has eco-friendly custom for the preservation of the environment. One of them is Tenganan Village. This village has its own environmental management laws based on sustainability and interconnectivity between the environment and Tenganan’s residents; for example certain fruits (such as durian) can only be collected after they fall from the tree naturally, a tree must not be cut before it dies naturally, a violation to these rule will be punished with a heavy fine. The residents of Tenganan explain that they actively conserve biodiversity partly because such wide varieties of plants are needed for Tenganan’s regular rituals and ceremonies.
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