Freedom of Interpreting Culture and Religion
All aspect of Balinese culture and religion are endless source of interpretation, mainly by Balinese. It seems that every Balinese has his own interpretation on every aspect of Balinese culture or religion. Though the interpretation on a certain aspect of culture and religion maybe numerous but they never contradict each other.
For example, Kuningan holyday which will be celebrate on Saturday, 7/8/2007, has many interpretations on the origin of the word “kuningan.” Some say the Kuningan holyday derives its name from the name of the week in which this holyday occurs. Balinese use Pawukon Calendar which consists of 30 weeks and each week has its own name. one of the week in the pawukon calendar is named “kuningan” and this holyday occurs in this week, so it is named ‘kuningan” after the week of its occurrence.
Some say Kuningan holyday derives its name from the color of the offering which is presented in this holyday. On Kuningan, Balinese present yellow colored rice offerings, the word “yellow” equivalent to “kuning” in Balinese language. This word, “kuning” is considered the root of the word “kuningan.”
Others said Kuningan holyday derives its name from the word “keuningan” means “knowingness”, the complex form of the word “uning” means “know.” It is said that in this holyday Balinese is urged to know who they are, to know their origin, by paying homage to the ancestors which are deified in the family temple and present offering to them.
Why there are many interpretations on a single thing? Balinese hold a value that “everyone has his own truth,” everybody has a version of truth on something, Balinese appreciate others “truth” as long as it does not contradict with the religious and social values which are applied in the society.
The existence of many interpretations creates a sense of difference in the society, but Balinese are aware and have a great respect on difference. It is alright to be different as long as one can fulfill his obligation to the community.