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Tumpek Kandang  

by on Saturday, 26 February 2011One Comment | 2,609 views

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Yet another religious occasion will be celebrated on Saturday February 26, 2011 in accordance to the Balinese calendar. This day is known as Tumpek Kandang or Tumpel Uye and offerings are made to honour animals, especially cows and pigs, which create a livelihood for ordinary Balinese villagers.

The word tumpek is originally derived from the ancient Javanese dialect and is similar to tempak or Saturday. The term kandang is Balinese and means cage or pen. From a Hindu perspective tumpek is an important day on the Balinese calendar and is believed to have great mystical value. The underlying message of Tumpek Kandang is one of respect. Love and devotion is not just restricted to mankind, but also the environment, animals and all living things.

On the morning of Tumpek Kandang in rural areas of Bali, cows are bathed and lengths of white and yellow cloth are draped over their backs, similar to a man dressed in a traditional sarong. Pigs are a bit more difficult to handle, but both animals are decorated with flower garlands and given specially prepared food to eat. Prayer takes place and the family livestock, as well as domestic pets, are sprinkled with holy water and rice.

Balinese Hindu’s believe that God created animals as a component of human life. According to ancient Balinese scriptures that refer to the cosmological perspective of the world’s creation, it is mentioned that following a period of emptiness God first created plants, then animals and finally human beings. It is the plant kingdom that sustains the animal kingdom and together they provide life for mankind. For this simple reason, man is obliged to preserve his natural surroundings and the wellbeing of flora and fauna.

The ritual Tumpek Kandang ceremony that takes place in every Balinese household or ancestral family compound does not necessarily symbolize the worship of animals, but actually it is paying homage to the God Wisnu who is the keeper of all living things. This ceremony is a simple reminder for the Balinese to pay closer attention to the environment and gently nurture all living things for the subsequent welfare of mankind. Future generations depend on today’s preservation efforts.

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