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01 September 2021

Pagerwesi is one of the holiest days in Bali and is celebrated every 210 days in the Balinese calendar. Observance of Pagerwesi coincides with the celebration of Saraswati – the day of knowledge. The reason for this is that after the celebration of knowledge and divine inspiration during Saraswati, Pagerwesi is observed to protect and shield this knowledge and inspiration from forces of evil.

Pagerwesi is derived from two words: “pager” meaning fence and “wesi” meaning iron. The iron fence is a symbol of strong self-protection and on this day, it is suggested that one surrounds themself with strong fortifications to ensure that evil does not enter their minds, speech and deeds and to avoid harm to their surroundings.

On this day, Balinese Hindus honour the Sang Hyang Pramesti Guru (also known as the deity Siva) as the “teacher” of the universe, responsible for wiping out all bad and evil entities in the world. Sang Hyang Pramesti Guru teaches people how to live their life appropriately, without succumbing to bad behavior and evil desires. This is a day where the Balinese strengthen their minds and souls against evil forces. Pagerwesi is also called “rerainan gumi” by the Balinese, which refers to a holy day celebrated everyone from all backgrounds – from the families of priests to common families.

In many regions of Bali, Pagerwesi is considered a very important holy day, celebrated in similar fashion to Galungan Day. Similar to other sacred days in Bali, celebrations are held at houses and temples throughout the island. Many people erect “penjor” (tall decorated bamboo poles) similar to during Galungan, and make offerings to the deceased awaiting cremation. The Balinese show their gratitude and pay their respects to Sanghyang Pramesti Guru (Siva), who is believed to be the most respected Guru (teacher), leading them in this universe from birth, protecting them during their lives and transforming them later when they die. Pagerwesi Day is also a day that an ancient battle between good and evil is celebrated. Pagerwesi is also unique compared to many other Balinese ceremonies because it is held in the middle of night.

11 September 2021

Tumpek Landep is a Balinese ceremonial day when offerings are made for objects that are made of metal. The word tumpek means ‘close (to)’ and the word landep means ‘sharp’.

In the early days of Balinese Hinduism, the keris (dagger) was one of the few objects that was made of metal. The keris was a weapon commonly used in battle and regarded as a holy spiritual object with magical powers, playing an important historical role and still does today. The keris is also symbol and a metaphor which instructs you to be as ‘sharp’ as possible in your thinking. On Tumpek Landep, Hindus on the island pay their respects to metal items especially the keris – which is believed to possess spiritual powers.

Tumpek Landep is celebrated every 210 days according to the Balinese ceremonial Pawukon calendar, on the Saturday of its second week, Landep. This day is also referred to as Saniscara Kliwon Landep.

Ceremonies begin in the morning at village temples, where people gather to present offerings and pray to God for their tools made of metals such as iron, bronze, gold etc. Afterwards, at home compounds, additional ceremonies and blessings are performed. In modern times, other objects that contain metal, such as computers, may be honoured. At the household level, Hindus provide offerings for kitchen utensils such as knives, stoves, cutlery and other metal items supporting household life. Farmers create offerings for tools such as sickles, hoes, tractors, ploughs etc. that support their livelihoods. Most Balinese people believe that these ceremonies and blessings will bring them luck and keep them safe.

Rituals are typically performed at the family temple compounds of Pande (metal tool makers or smiths). In Bali, the family name of Pande originally refers to families who usually create metal tools such as keris, knives, etc. For carpenters, house builders, and motorcycle and car workshops, Tumpek Landep a very special day to show appreciation for metal tools that are integral to their work/ livelihoods. Tumpek Landep is also a day for cleaning and purifying heirlooms.

Today, Hindus in Bali often place offerings on their vehicles including bicycles, motorcycles and cars on Tumpek Landep to ask for safety on the roads. Cars and motorcycles are often decorated with offerings made from young coconut leaves, out of respect for the metal used for the vehicles that transport humans on this earth.

Today, Tumpek Landep has been linked to the “human mind” by Hindu religious leaders; tied to how people’s minds and thought processes should be continuously sharpened to gain as much knowledge as possible during life. This results in good attitudes and the ability to control our desires to avoid committing inappropriate behaviour. Tumpek Landep is also linked with the Saraswati holy day, where Balinese Hindus worship the goddess that represents knowledge. Tumpek Landep is thus the day to sharpen the knowledge gained from the goddess Saraswati.

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