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Tumpek Unduh Holiday in Bali Dedicated to Plantation

4 August 2013

The ritual of Tumpek Uduh or Tumpek Bubuh performed by the Balinese on every 210 days and always fall on Saturday, bring human beings from all over the world to preserve the environment well so that humans do not lose their food, clothing and housing resources that constitute their primary needs. If you coincidentally spend a holiday in Bali you will see Balinese people present offerings on the trees, ritual procession in the midst of vast estate and various socio-religious activities from the early morning to late night. The function and meaning of this Tumpek Bubuh is an awareness milestone to sustain the environmental preservation for the sake of survival of all living creatures.

For Balinese people, sustaining the environmental preservation comprises divine duty in implementing the Hindu teachings. Hence, human and living environment are inseparable and always in interdependency. In the concept of Tat Tvam Asi (That art thou), human is an element of this living environment, to make the Balinese aware sustaining the harmonious relation to its environment. In the kakawin (long poem) of Nitisastra, the interdependency relationship of human and living environment is just like a tiger in the woods. The tiger sincerely guards the woods against wicked people, and on the contrary, the dense woods are glad to protect the habitat of tiger and provide it with abundant food.

In endeavor to preserve the environment, apart from doing real action in the field they also perform a ritual procession called tumpek bubuh or tumpek pengarah, tumpek pengatag, tumpek wariga. This rite is performed in the morning, when the sun rises on the eastern horizon the Balinese rush to bring the offerings to their estates behind their home or other places that is full of trees. In the midst of vast estate area, the offerings put on bamboo altar.

Having presented the offerings on the bamboo altar, they put offering in the form of porridge at various trees starting from coconut. The stem of coconut or other trees is torn a bit to put in the porridge offerings. Then they solemnly recite the prayer in the vernacular Balinese that resembles a dialogue with the trees. As soon as completing the prayer, the stem of the tree is hit thrice. Likewise, the same prayers repeated again and again on presenting porridge for the other trees.

Such was Hindu devotees in Bali carrying out the rites of Tumpek Uduh or Tumpek Bubuh or Tumpek Pengatag that falls on Saturday Kliwon Wariga, once in six months (210 days). Ingredients of offerings presented on that day predominated by the form of porridge. But, if devotees has vast estate along with productive plants, like coconut, coffee, clove and so on, the offerings is usually completed with roasted suckling pig. Apart from ritual procession of Tumpek Bubuh, the real behavior is also taught at early stage. But, its method is still mentioned implicitly (not transparent and full of mystery) so to be able to understand it needs the sharpness of intuition and special intellectual. As if the old people from time immemorial did not give any explanation in details intentionally since they were afraid that such method would be misused or could lessen it sacredness value.

Except by means of rite, the old people in Bali also have a method to educate their generation in preserving the environment by planting trees. For instance, on planting coconut, they will call for their children to help digging a hole. Afterwards, they will carry them on the back one another when planting its coconut seedling. They only say that, by doing so it is expected that such coconut will grow well, have strong stem, and bear dense fruit in pile just like the old who carry their children. For the Balinese, coconut tree constitutes a versatile tree. Its young, green and dry leaves are used for the needs of rites and supplying the needs of life. Various kind of offering, kitchenware and broom up to house roof can be made of coconut leaves. Furthermore, coconut flesh can be processed into compliment of assorted typical Balinese food, cakes or further processed into cooking oil and its grated residual form called usam can be used for mixture of feed of the pig. Meanwhile, its seseh (coco wood) can be used for house or sanctum construction. Some artists of Bali also take advantage the coconut wood for varied artworks like statue that is sold to tourist.

Tumpek Bubuh rite constitutes the preliminary celebration for the preparation of welcoming Galungan holiday, a festival for the universe (commemorative day to the earth). In the Balinese calendar system, the range of Tumpek Bubuh with Galungan counts 35 days or a month in the system. Therefore, Tumpek Bubuh apart from conveying thanksgiving to the Almighty God as the supreme authority of sarwa tumbuh (useful plants for human life), also signifies the expectation that God in His manifestation as the Lord Sangkara at all times extends boon of fertility, so all plants grow and bear fruit flourishingly as the prayers recited on presenting the offerings. If you travel to Bali, you should better go to village corner to see the performance of Tumpek Bubuh rites. The sacredness vibration of this rite will help you to attain an awareness to behave wisely in preserving the environment. When you succeed in sustaining yours well, actually you have made a saving for your retirement age that is immensely beneficial for your future generations.