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Pennies from Heaven

West Bali Village of Bongan, Tabanan Celebrates Kuningan by Throwing Away Money

(11/4/2013) The residents of the traditional village of Bongan in Tabanan, West Bali celebrated the Balinese holiday of Kuningan with the unique Mesuryak ritual on Saturday, November 2, 2013.

Mesuryak, which loosely translated mean “of happy heart,” sees the young people of the village gather in the front yards of wealthier members of the Bongan community. The owner of the house eventually appears on the front veranda scattering coins that send everyone scrambling for a share of the spoils.

As quoted by the State News Agency Antara, the local village chief of Bongan, I Made Wardana, describes the Mesuryak ritual as a means of providing support for the return trip of deceased ancestors who have lingered on earth and their home villages for the ten days between Galungan and Kuningan.

Each family, in accordance with their individual means place sums of money, which in the aggregate may total millions of rupiahs, in their yards for the use and pleasure of the now departed souls from their families.

Before the Mesuryak ritual can take place, tradition dictates that the Hindu residents of the Bongan village undertake prayers at the three main sacred temples of Bali (Pura Tri Kahyangan) or the three temples found within the borders of the village.

Returning from prayers and carrying their offerings in their arms, the residents then perform the light-hearted Mesuryak ritual.

In earlier times the Mesuryak ritual used ancient kepeng coins, but to meet the changing times modern day currency and coins are now used.