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Tumpek Landep - Sharpening the Tools of Our Trade

Saturday, January 8, 2005 was 'Tumpek Landep.' A Day the Balinese Honor the Tools of their Professions.

Bali News:
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In the Balinese calendar of 210 days there are five separate Tumpek Days or Hari Tumpek - Landep, Uduh, Uve (Kandang), Kuningan and Wayang.

In their broadest terms, these are ritual cycle days set aside for paying respect to different fundamental components of the physical world. Landep is a day for honoring the tools of our trades, including any kind of transportation; Uduh respects living plants and the crops that sustain us; Uve or Kandang is a day set aside for paying homage to the members of the animal kingdom, including a family's livestock and pets; Wayang offers deference to the many puppets used in portraying ancient tales; and Kuningan is an all-purpose Tumpek day to give thanks for all the components of the physical universe – especially any items potentially overlooked on the other Tumpek days.

To Bali's visitors the most obvious sign that Tumpek Ladep has arrived is the ubiquitous sight of cars, busses and motorcycles traveling down the highways with elaborate palm offering tied to their front grills and side mirrors – a sure sign of having just been blessed with the ritual offerings, prayers, food, incense and the holy water offerings mandated on this special day.

But, you would be mistaken to think Tumpek Landep is a day set aside exclusively for paying honor to vehicles. The historical roots of Tumpek Landep trace back to rites that for the blessing and sharpening of weapons of conflict. Over the generations the meaning was expanded to include any tool or instrument made of metal eventually including bicycles, motorcycles and cars.

Drs. I Gede Rudia Adiputra, the Rector of the Hindu Dharma Institute (IHD) recently explained that Tumpek Landep is, in fact, a day set aside for sharpening all the "weapons of our lives." He went on to explain that thinking is man's main weapon - a tool made sharp though the refinement of knowledge and understanding. While other days – such as Saraswati pay homage to knowledge, Tumpek Landep is a day for evaluation and retrospection on how well we have mastered that knowledge for the benefit of the world.

Accordingly, Tumpek Landep seeks to honor human skills and ingenuity and the tools and technology used in practicing those skills.

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