If you have trouble keeping your personal calendar organized, be thankful that you're not Balinese.
The Balinese calendar is based on a 210-day wuku system comprised of 7 months, each of 30 days duration. Within the 210-day cycle are ritually ordered inner-cycles of various lengths. The entire ebb and flow of Balinese life is determined by the meshing of these cycles of the calendar.
Calendars, created each year and printed in the thousands, suggest the proper dates for building, marrying, burying, planting and even the propitious dates for the co-mingling of the sexes.
From this perspective, the conceiveable become literally inconceiveable when the Balinese calendar suggests its not the right day to start a family or allow your stock to practice animal husbandry.
No one ever said life on this Island was uncomplicated.
The Tumpek Cycle
An interesting cycle of days are the 6 Tumpek celebrations – always falling on Saturday-Kliwon in the seven day week at various intervals during the 210-day-long year:
• The first tumpek of the year is Tumpek Landap - a day to pay homage to weapons and all items made of metal. Celebrated this year on June 12, cars, bicycles and motorbikes received blessings of food, flowers and woven palm leaf.
• Tumpek Uduh is the second Tumpek day in the cycle. When it falls on the calendar, prayers and offerings are made to all plants and trees useful and necessary to man's survival.
• The third in the cycle of Tumpek is Kuningan - a day to honor deities and ancestors.
• The fourth Tumpek is Tumpek Krulut, something of a fail-safe celebration dedicated to no particular class of objects; a catch-all day of thanksgiving for any of God's many gifts we may be taking for granted or have inadvertently overlooked on the other tumpek days.
• The fifth day in this cycle is Tumpek Kandang - a day dedicated to the blessing of farm animals and pets.
• Tumpek Wayang is the sixth day in the cycle dedicated to dance, music, and all the instruments and props used in Bali's performing arts, both sacred and profane.
The last day in the wuku cycle which determines the Tumpek days is dedicated to the Goddess Saraswati, Bali's goddess of writing. Books, libraries and writing instruments are revered on a day that, somewhat incongruously, prohibits reading of any kind.
The Blessing of the Fleet
On Saturday, June 12, 2004, known locally as Kliwon – wuku – Landep, all the cars and vans in the fleet of vehicles used to carry Bali Discovery's guests around the island stopped first at our offices for a mandatory blessing before taking to the roads.
In Bali, we think of this as vehicle insurance of a higher order.
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