Tumpek Kandang : Balinese Animal Day
Today, Saturday, o6/06/2009, Balinese celebrate the “Tumpek Kandang” holiday. This holiday is dedicated to Sang Hyang Rare Angon, the god of all cattle and livestock. On this day Balinese show their appreciation and thankfulness to all domesticated animals that help them in everyday life.
Tumpek Kandang, also called Tumpek Andang, falls on Saturday of Uye, the 22nd week of the pawukon cycle. The name Tumpek Kandang is derived from two words, “Tumpek” that means Saturday that coincide with Kliwon (name of a day based on Pancawara*) and “Kandang” refers to Balinese word for pen, symbolizing the domesticated animals that Balinese Hindu highly honor. They include cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, dogs and birds.
On this holiday day, domesticated animals in Bali receive a great attention; the cows are washed in the river and dressed-up like human beings, with special cone-shaped spiral of coconut leaf placed on their horns. The pigs are decorated, with their bellies wrapped with a white or yellow cloth. The domesticated animals are fed with the best food.
A special offering is made for Sang Hyang Rare Angon, the god of all cattle and livestock, prayer is offered to the God for the welfare of the domesticated these animals. Holy water and rice are sprinkled to the head of these animals at the end of the ceremony.
This ritual certainly not an animal worship ritual, The Balinese consider the animal as a friend of life and fellow brother created by God as a living creature. Human life is much assisted by animals, especially in satisfying the needs of food, the labor force, religious ceremony and economy. For the sake of preservation and prosperity of such animals, the Balinese plead for God as the Greatest Source.
Tumpek Kandang has more meaning on the showing of evidence that Balinese is a community that is aware of animal welfare. This means, there is an awareness of owing “merits” to the animals, since such creatures are the preserver of the equilibrium of the ecosystem. Without animals on earth, the life cycle does not work, and even interrupts.
* (pancarawara is a week cycle consist of five days, namely Umanis, Paing, Pon, Wage, and Kliwon)