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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kuningan Ceremony

On 24 october 2009 Balinese will celebrate Kuningan day. Kuningan takes its name from the fact that a special offering that is presented in this holyday is yellow rice (nasi kuning) is made by colouring ordinary white rice with tumeric (kunyit). Kuningan occurs once in every 210 days in the Balinese Pawukon cycle (traditional Balinese calendar). The Kuningan Day is the time for commemoration as the ancestors return to the heaven after ten days dwelling on earth and the Balinese express their gratitude to gods for His mercy to the human races.

Kuningan is a special day for ancestor worship since it is the last day of ancestor visit to the earth. On this day the deified ancestor will be suitably entertained and welcomed, and prayers and offerings must be made for them. Those families who have uncremated deceased ones buried in the village cemetery must make offerings at the graves. The Kuningan ceremony must be held before noon, since Balinese believes that the ancestors will ascent back to their respective abode at noon. The ceremony will be held in every Balinese’s family temple (sanggah or merajan). A special offering (Banten Kuningan) is made as a sign of respect to the ancestors. The offering consists of yellow rice (nasi kuning), for Balinese yellow is the symbol of greatness and magnificence. Tamiang (a decorative young coconut leaf arrangement resembles a shield), tar (a decorative young coconut leaf arrangement resembles a weapon) and endongan leaf are obligatory decorations of Kuningan. They are hanged below the roof of shrines and houses. They represent the sense of security and awareness of Balinese in facing the life after Galungan period is over.

Kuningan is a private family holyday the ceremony is within the house compound in the shrines of the family temple (sanggah or merajan). Only those who have family ties will attend the ceremony, unlike the cremations or more public processions of village temple ceremonies.

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