Tumpek Landep: The Aspicious Ceremony for Sharpening Metallic Objects, Hearts and Minds.
At least four times a year visitors to Bali will bear witness to cars and motorbikes cruising the streets of the island decorated with ‘sampian’ and ‘lamak’ – offerings made of young coconut leaves and fl owers. The decorations mark that the cars and motorbikes have been blessed through ceremonious rituals.
Ceremonies held on Tumpek Landep day are uniquely held to bless metallic objects, including cars, motorbikes, and machinery. The rituals aim to honor Sang Hyang Pasupati, Lord of Heirlooms, for the creation of steel goods.
Initially, Tumpek Landep was a day of rituals given to specifi c sharp tools made of steel like weapons, ‘tombak’ (spear) and ‘keris’ (a traditional wavy double-bladed dagger). Both ‘keris’ and ‘tombak’ are symbolically used by temples during festivals and processions. Keris is also an essential tool used in the performing arts. Almost all male dancers representing a hero or the upper class have a keris across their backs and use it as a weapon during a war or fight.
Today, ceremonies on Tumpek Landep are extended to ritualize all objects made of metal, including cars, motorbikes, trucks, computers, televisions, digital cameras and machinery. Machinery, vehicles, and other goods are washed and cleaned prior to the ceremony. Transport companies who own several cars or buses, printing companies, rice-milling factories and all other factories normally close operations on Tumpek Landep day.
Beliefs and Traditions
The inclusion to the Tumpek Landep ceremony of offerings to machinery and other steel, iron and metallic modern products suggests at least two interrelated points. Firstly, it reflects the flexibility of the Balinese’s beliefs and traditions. The Balinese’s beliefs and traditions have proven to be adaptable and relevant to modern life. Some may not feel safe in operating new engines or driving new cars without first given them a blessing ceremony. Others may believe that accidents in the operation of an engine or the driving of a car may be caused by carelessness during a ceremony on Tumpek Landep. This belief remains strong in modern day Bali. This is a noticeable point as ceremonies on Tumpek Landep have become more and more elaborate over time. This practice further suggests that the more modern the Balinese the more traditional they become.
Secondly, the significant meaning of the Tumpek Landep ceremony resides on its goal to sharpen people’s minds and hearts, as they are the ultimate users of technology. This supports the message of a proverb that says ‘man is behind the gun’. Therefore, the functions of technological products eventually rely on the usage of the people who operate them. Consequently, in order to ensure the proper, safe, and wise use of weapons, machines, vehicles, and other metallic appliances, the mind and heart of the user needs to be foremost and continuously revitalized. The Balinese try to uphold this revitalization every Tumpek Landep day.