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    What do the Tumpek days mean?

    Tumpek are auspicious days on the Balinese calendar. There are six Tumpek which are spread over a 210 day cycle called pawukon.Tumpek days signify the meeting of a Saniscara weekday (Saturday) and Keliwon day.

    The first in the pawukon cycle is called Tumpek Landep and is the day Balinese make offerings to objects made from iron, in particular daggers called kris and iron gamelan. These days even vehicles and computers are adorned with the elaborate offerings in the form of clothing woven from coconut leaves.

    Tumpek Uduh is in reverence of plants, in particular large trees, fruit-bearers, or those considered useful to humans. The trees are dressed up and sometimes struck during the ceremony in the hope that it will continue to bear fruit for our consumption.

    Tumpek Kuningan is commonly known simply as “Kuningan” and occurs on the Saturday after Galungan. It represents the end of the Galungan holiday where ancestors are worshipped. Balinese make offerings of yellow rice on this day.

    The day respect is made to bronze gamelan, masks and dance costumes is called Tumpek Krulut. Offerings are laid out in front of the largest gong, prayers are recited, and holy water is sprinkled on the instruments. Sometimes smaller offerings are tied to each individual instrument.

    Tumpek Kandang is the day Balinese make offerings to animals, in particular farm stock such as cows, pigs and buffalo. The animals are washed, given special fodder and dressed in ceremonial cloth.

    The day reserved for ceremonial puppets is called Tumpek Wayang. A puppeteer will take all the puppets, perhaps more than 100, out of their wooden box (keropak) and line them up on a banana tree trunk (gedebong) as if to be used for a real performance. Then special offerings are made. Dance costumes, masks and barong are also blessed on this day. In some villages with sacred barong, a barong performance is held on the evening of the day after Tumpek Wayang.

    © 2010 Vaughan Hatch

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