Bali Blog - Article About Bali Holiday Island
Kuningan Holiday in Bali Island10 August 2013
Balinese Hindus will flock to temples throughout the island as they observe Kuningan on Saturday. Kuningan Day is the end of a series of ceremonies to celebrate the victory of Dharma (goodness) over Adharma (evil) that begins with Galungan on March 27 2013. Galungan and Kuningan are observed every 210 days, or every six months according to the Balinese calendar. Dressed in traditional Balinese attire — the women in kebaya and batik sarongs and the men in shirts, batik sarongs and destar (a head scarf) — people begin to attend temple in the early hours of the morning.
Devotees carry colorful offerings in various shapes and sizes, such as Sodan — a small offering of fruit, cakes and flowers — or the larger towering version Gebogan. Canang is the simplest offering made with fresh flowers and leaves placed on a square of coconut leaves. A small portion of yellow rice on sugar palm leaves is also placed on each offering, especially for Kuningan Day.
The word kuningan (yellow) refers to the colored rice, which is usually accompanied by traditional side dishes such as slices of boiled egg, siap sisit (shredded stir-fried chicken with shallots and chili), slices of cucumber, kemangi leaves and fresh long beans. The selection of side dishes is chosen according to preference.
These offerings are not only dedicated to God but are also intended for the family feast. All the food offerings are eaten once prayers are performed. Yellow is a symbol of wisdom. It reminds Balinese Hindus to be wise at every moment. Every single problem should be solved wisely. Kuningan is also derived from the word ning, which in the Balinese language means clear. Yellow, is also a symbol of prosperity. It shows our gratitude for the prosperity we have already gained.
For many people across the island, performing Kuningan prayer at Sakenan Temple is a must. The temple is located on Serangan Island, about 12 kilometers south of Denpasar. The temple is one of the major temples in Bali. Based on the ancient Balinese text Usana Bali, it was built by one of Bali’s most revered spiritual figures, Mpu Kuturan, in the 12th century.
There are many unique rituals performed on Kuningan Day. For residents of Munggu village in Badung Regency in southern Bali about 15 drives from Tanah Lot Temple, Kuningan is the time to perform the Mekotek tradition, which commemorates the bravery of their ancestors during a war against the East Javanese kingdom of Blambangan in the 17th century. During the war, Munggu warriors formed the elite military unit of the Mengwi kingdom.
Carrying long wooden sticks, hundreds of men split into groups, make solid pyramid-like shapes with their sticks and push each other until one group overwhelms the other — breaking the stick formation. The braves are attempt to scale them and upon reaching the top the men holding the sticks below begin to circle the structure in a clockwise motion. Another unique ritual, the Mesuryak tradition (throwing money), is performed by villagers of Bongan Gede, Tabanan regency, some 30 kilometers from Denpasar. After performing Kuningan prayers, the priest throws money, collected from the offerings made by each family, to the people gathered along the hamlet’s narrow street, who scramble to catch the money.
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