“ANIMALS HOLY DAY”
The Balinese celebrate “Tumpek Kandang”, a day dedicated to Sang Hyang Rare Angon, the god of Cattle & Livestock. Domesticated animals receive great attention and visitors will a special and colorful day in Bali. Cows are washed in the river and dressed up like humans with special cone-shaped spirals made of coconut leaf placed on their horns. The pigs are decorated, with their bellies wrapped with white or yellow cloth. Prayers are offered to the gods for the continuing welfare of these animals and holy water and rice are sprinkled on their heads at the end of the ceremony.
The Balinese consider animals as friends and, living creatures created by God, like fellow brothers. Human life is helped by animals, especially in satisfying our need for food, the cultivation of crops, as well as used in religious ceremonies. To ensure preservation and prosperity of these animals, the Balinese pray to God for their well being. This awareness of the importance of animals, highlights the need of balance within the ecosystem. Without animals on earth, the cycle of life no longer functions or exists for humans.
Once offerings have been made to the gods, people are allowed to eat them. However there are strict rules to be followed. Only women can eat the leftovers (surudan) of offerings dedicated to pigs. According to Balinese belief, if eaten by men they will become lazy, stupid and will lose their prestige or authority. Leftovers from offerings dedicated to cows may be eaten by both men and women after they have been sacrificed.
There is an animal hierarchy which is followed, barbecued pork or suckling pig, known locally as “Babi Guling” is included in these offerings sacrificed by those who raise only cows. On the other hand, those who raise only pigs they will dedicate modest offerings, followed down the chain by those who raise chickens, ducks, who in turn make even smaller “Mewadah Tamas” offerings.