Custom and Religion In Indonesia – A Communal Birthday

In Bali, Festive activities centre about the village temple.

Where every 210 days a communal birthday feast (odalan) is held on the anniversary of its consecration. For several days beforehand, the entire village is engaded in preparing elaborate decorations, altars and offerings; in praying and receiving blessings of sprinkled holy water from the pemangku or temple priest. On the day of the festival, delicately carved sandalwood idols are brought out of their special compartment, wrapped in sacred weaving and then infused with the protective spirits of the village, who are then escorted to the seashore or the reverbank in a colourful procession.

Symbolic ablutions are performed and everyone receives a blessing of holy water, and the procession return to the temple, where the spirits receives their offering and possess mediums who tell if the celebrations and offering have been satisfactory, answer questions and give advice. The villagers feast, and various entertainments are staged throughout the night – a chance for young dancers, puppeteers and gamelan musicians to star.

Finally, as the first rays of dawn break over the horizon, the pemangku leads the village in a ritual adoration of the sun, and everyone goes home to bed.

–> Read Also : Custom and Religion In Indonesia – Nurturing The Life Force & Power of Blood

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