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But Only God Can Make a Tree

Bali Pay Homage to Plant Life on Tumpek Uduh.

(6/13/2011) On Saturday, June 11, 2011, the Balinese Hindu celebrated Tumpek Wariga or Tumpek Uduh - a day in which offerings and prayers are made to all forms of plants.

There is a cycle of tumpek days on the Balinese ritual calendar in which, on various days of the 210 calendar, prayers and offerings are alternately focused on tools and items made of iron (Tumpek Landep); yellow rice (Tumpek Kuningan); gamelan orchestras, masks and dance costumes (Tumpek Krulut); animals (Tumpek Kandang); and puppets (Tumpek Wayang).

Tumpek Uduh

The celebration of Tumpek Uduh - like the marking of other tumpek days, brings forth traditional offerings (banten and Janur), and displays of  flowers and fruits. The celebration of this particular holy day also mandates the preparation of bubur sumsum - a delicious culinary concoction of rice flour, made green with the chlorophyll of the  leaf of the sugi tree, and flavored with shredded coconut and brown sugar.

The celebration of Tumpek Uduh consumes an entire day, held in farming fields and family gardens of Bali from morning until late afternoon.

As reported by the National news agency Antara, Dr. I Ketut Sumadi of the tourism faculty of the Hindu Dharma Indonesian Institute sees the celebration of Tumpek Uduh as a symbolic launching point for revitalizing Bali's agricultural sector and encouraging greater attention be given to the island's  natural environment.

Sumadi sees Bali's burgeoning tourism industry – with the growing demand for hotels, restaurants and supporting infrastructure – as creating an imbalance and demand for property and water resources between the agricultural and tourism sectors. He estimates that between 700-800 hectares of arable land are lost each year to tourism development. Meanwhile, beaches that were once the playground and ceremonial lands of the Balinese have become "private beaches"  claimed by numerous hotels and villas.

A distinguished professor at Bali's Udayana University agriculture faculty, Professor Dr. I Wayan Windia, says Bali's agricultural sector retains a strategic function beyond the mere provision of food for the island's tables, the growing of raw materials for industry, and  the planting medicinal herbs. Windia sees Bali's agricultural land as having a major supporting role in creating employment opportunities and cultural values.

Tumpek Uduh is also a day used by the Balinese to offer prayers to the Almighty to protect them for famine through the provision of  a rich and bountiful harvest.

Windia also believes that deference to plants is also increasingly born of the knowledge that hillsides denuded of plant life and trees are a leading cause of deadly landslides and floods in Bali.