For Balinese people life is not just about living, it contains some elements of honoring your ancestors and the deities as well, which they did through Manusa Yadnya grand ceremony. Balinese Hindu people and society are formed with layers and layers of ritual, tradition and ceremonies. This is the major aspect that makes Bali a special and captivating place to visit by tourists from around the world. One of the most important rituals done by Balinese Hindu is called Manusa Yadnya ceremony, which they have to do throughout their lives. Here we listed the phases of the grand ceremony of life that determine Balinese Hindu as a human being, from the time they were born to them time they passed from the world.
OTONAN Considered as one of the most important ritual in ancient Balinese era, Baris is a dance to glorify the manhood of triumphant Balinese warrior. Exclusively performed by male, Baris depicts the feeling of young warrior prior to battle. There are over thirty different types of Baris, but it can be mainly differed into two types; solo and group. Solo dance is called ‘Baris Tunggal’, in which the dancers perform alone.Baris can be performed by up to 40 dancers at once.
KAMBUAN A ceremony done exactly 42 days after a baby is born, Kambuan is done to cleanse the baby and his / her mother from all impurities. This procession must be done so the baby would be able to enter the sacred ground of Pura to worship the deities. For more in-depth explanation of this ceremony, you can refer to the ‘Around Bali’ section of this issue.
NELU BULANIN Done 3 months – or 105 days according to Balinese ancient calendar, Nelu Bulanin is a 3 month ceremony where the baby’s senses is prepared and prayed by the priest to function fully and properly. To symbolize the baby’s crossing over to full humanity, the child’s feet will be permitted to touch the ground for the first time, and it will be released from a fighting rooster’s cage.
METATAH Basically, Metatah is tooth filing ceremonies where six upper teeth of a teenager are smoothen using a special tool by pedanda (holy priest). This ceremony is done more for the symbolical meaning rather than physical, so those who experience will not feel much pain. In fact, this joyous coming-of-age moment is often celebrated in high fashion, as the teenagers wear their best traditional outfit and the ritual is treated as a festive party.
Technically the last ‘phase’ of Manusa Yadnya, is the merry wedding ceremony Balinese people called ‘Pawiwahan’ or ‘Nganten’. There are several aspects and ways of Nganten commonly done by Balinese, but it ultimately end with the priest in charge asking Ida Sang Hyang Widhi to witness the union of the couple and made clear that the two finally unite and take full responsibility for the consequences of their wedding.
Widely considered as the staple of Balinese traditional religious ceremonies among many others, Ngaben is a rite of ascension which transcends human spirit from their deceased physical bodies. Although it is definitely a funeral ritual, Balinese people did not grief, or at least they did not show it during the whole Ngaben procession. The body of the deceased is placed and treated as if he/she is still sleeping. For Balinese Hindu, ‘death’ is only a temporal absent; as they believe the deceased will reincarnate or find final rest in ‘Moksha’ (permanent liberation of reincarnation and death cycle).
A continuation of Ngaben ceremony, Nganyud is a ritual where the ash of a deceased person drifted to the water, preferably river that leads to the open sea. This symbolize that the body of the deceased has returned to the earth via water element.
A big ‘post-cremation’ ceremony of some sort, Meligia is basically a second ‘cremation’ process to purify one’s soul and ultimately separates it from all the earthly bonds. This ritual usually takes place in the village where the deceased live or born, and involves the whole village in their procession.