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Tawur Kesanga: Payment to the Demon  

by on Friday, 4 March 2011No Comment | 3,534 views

A day prior to Nyepi, or Balinese New Year, the great Tawur Kesanga ritual is held all over Bali. The word “tawur” literally means, “pay” in a sense of a payment to the bhuta kala, personification to negative force, in order to restore the harmony of life. And kesanga is the ninth month in Balinese Caka calendar. The kesanga is considered the worst month by the Balinese, with troublesome rainy season, and when even the earth is said to be sick and feverish (panes). It is believed that the Lord of Hell, Yama, sweeps Hades of devils, which fall on Bali, making it imperative that the whole of the island be purified.

The tawur kesanga ritual is always held on the new moon of the ninth month of Balinese Caka calendar that always coincide with the spring equinox. This ritual is believed to be an effective way to purify the island in order to make a harmonious relation between human being and God, human and human, and human and their environments.


Tawur Kesanga takes place precisely at the time when the sun is straight on man’s fontanel. The Tawur Kesanga is performed in every level of society, from the people’s house, hamlet (banjar), village (desa pakraman), district, regency, and province or island-wide.

The tawur kesanga in a household level is conducted in front of the house compound gate with simple offering and paraphernalia.

The tawur kesanga ceremony in hamlet (banjar) level is conducted in the yard or in front of hamlet meeting hall (bale banjar) with more elaborate offering and paraphernalia.

Ceremony in the village level is conducted on the crossroad at centers of village (desa pakraman) with bigger offering and paraphernalia than the hamlet level, usually using caru panca sata, a kind of offering to the demon that requires 5 chickens of different color.

In district level the tawur ceremony is held in the center of the district usually around the office of the head of the district. This district level tawur ceremony needs a caru panca kelud, this offering needs 5 chickens of different color and a dog of the color the balinese call blang bungkem, this dog have a black snout and a red or brown body.

The tawur kesanga ceremony in regency level is held in the major crossroad of near the center of the regency. In Denpasar it is held in Puputan square, in front of Museum Bali. This ritual needs a caru rsigana offering that consist of the same animal as the panca kelud plus a white duck.

The tawur kesanga for the benefit of island-wide community is held in Besakih temple. This tawur kesanga ceremony needs the same animal as the caru rsigana plus a water buffalo, a goat, a black pig, and a goose with black and white coloring.

Although most of the villages in Bali perform the tawur kesanga ceremony at noon around 12:00, there are some villages that conduct this ceremony late in the afternoon. Nothing is regular in Bali, everything depends on place, time, and circumstance of ceremony at noon around 12:00, there are some villages that conduct this ceremony late in the afternoon. Nothing is regular in Bali, everything depends on place, time, and circumstance of the village where the ceremony takes place.

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