The Balinese lunar calendar is filled with auspicious days of religious and cultural significance. There will be yet another ceremonial occasion on Saturday, June 30 known as Tumpek Landep.
The word ‘landep’ in the high-caste Balinese dialect means ‘sharp’ and traditionally this day is where tools and family heirlooms of weaponry, such as sacred swords or keris (double edged dagger with wavy blade), are sanctified.
Although not every Balinese family owns a keris, those who do treat it with respect. Historically a keris was not just seen as a mere weapon, it was revered for possessing protective magical powers and was an indication of social status. Keris that date back to the Majapahit era are renowned and have become collectors’ items around the world. The keris is a symbolic part of the male costume in many traditional Balinese dances as well as being part of a groom’s wedding attire.
On the morning of Tumpek Landep tools and weapons are thoroughly cleaned and polished. They are then wrapped in pieces of new cloth and blessed with offerings, a sprinkle of holy water and a waft of incense.
However, in this modern age of development and technology the main recipients of Tumpek Landep offerings and purification are cars, motorbikes, bicycles and other object made from metal including office machinery and computers. On this day visitors will see vehicles owned by Balinese Hindu’s decorated with woven palm fronds hanging off the side vision mirrors and front radiator grill adding a touch of colour to the passing traffic.
This ritual promotes the safe use of all these metal objects, especially motorbikes and cars. For holy weapons such as the keris, it is believed that the offerings of Tumpek Landep replenish any magical powers bestowed by a higher unseen force.
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