Nowadays Tumpek Landep is a ceremonial day at which offerings are made for objects that are made of metal. The ceremonies start in the morning hours at the village temple when people gather for special prayers and blessings. Afterwards, at the home compounds, additional ceremonies and blessings follow at which offerings are made for the holy family keris that most families own, but also for cars and motorbikes. In these modern times, also other objects that contain metal, such as computers, may be subject to these ceremonies. Most Balinese people truly believe that these ceremonies and blessings will bring them luck and keep them safe in traffic. Tragically, at the day of Tumpek Landep the hospitals in Bali show a peak in the treatments of especially motorbike accidents.
Tumpek Landep is High Balinese language. The word tumpek means ‘close (to)’ and the word landep means ‘sharp’. Together it thus translates as ‘close to sharp’. But what does this mean? We will have to go back in time to shed some light on this cryptic word combination. In the early days of Balinese Hinduism the keris (dagger) was one of the few objects that were made of metal. As a dagger the keris was a weapon which was used in battles. More important, there were also lots of special keris that were regarded as holy, spiritual object with magical power. As such, the keris played an important role in the early days of Balinese Hinduism (and as a matter of fact it still does).
The original meaning of Tumpek Landep
Although it is true that the keris is made out of metal, this fact is originally *not* why the ceremonies are held. As stated above, in the early days the keris was one of the few objects that were made out of metal and it was in several respects an important object. Because it played such an important role, the keris, so to speak, was in everyone’s mind every day. And the tip of the blade of the keris….. is sharp! Now here comes the clue, in fact the keris is a symbol, a metaphor which tells you to be as ‘sharp’ as possible in your thinking. One should always be aware what one in fact is, a soul that has been incarnated to learn the lessons of life and to resist negative temptations like jealousy, anger, hate, greed, laziness, egoism, etc. which are all ego-driven, fear based (re)actions to life’s experiences.
When is Tumpek Landep?
Tumpek Landep takes place every 210 days according to the ceremonial Pawukon calendar, which is always at the Saturday of its second week, Landep. This day is also referred to as Saniscara Keliwon Tegeh.
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