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A Decade of Thanks

Balinese Thanksgiving of ‘Nyelung’ Celebrated Once every Decade by Gianyar Farmers


Around 600 farmers drawn from four subaks (traditional water irrigation systems) in Payangan, near Ubud, participated in a traditional “Nyelung” ritual on Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

Click Image to Enlarge

The subaks of Buahan, Susut, Selat and Tengipis joined forces for a colossal ceremony in which all their crops were presented as religious offerings to the Almighty Ida Sanghyang Widhi.

Nyoman Jejel, the secretary of the Gede Buahan Subak, explained to “The ritual ceremony involving all the farmers and their families from four subak is held once every ten years."

The ceremony held at a temple located in the middle of rice fields traces its roots to ancient times when the Subak Gede Buahan often fell victim to crippling droughts.

During the ritual offering the members of the subaks pray at the Pura Pucak Pausan, Buahan Kaja for the safe deliverance of their crops while promising to renew their offerings once every decade if their prayers are answered.

In the past, the prayers of the farmers have always been positively answered, sparing crops from drought, plague and pestilence. This history of success has paved the way for the next “Nyelung” ceremony ten years in the future,always held in the year ending in “4” on the Gregorian calendar.

“We are only continuing an ancient tradition handed down from our ancestors over the years,” explained Jejel.

All the crops are placed on ceremonial altars during the ceremony together with a duck, chicken and a pig. Also placed on the altar are duplicates of all the farming tools used in harvesting the crops.

The offerings are carried in a parade starting from Pura Puseh Buahan to Pura Pucak Pausan – a distance of approximately 10 kilometers.

In Balinese tradition, elaborate offerings made to God, once the ceremony is completed, can be consumed by man after the “essence” of the offering had ritually been surrendered to the Almighty.

Photo: Bali Tribune News

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