Craft&Culture


    Goodbye, Childhood!

      1-1-2017
     

    Goodbye, Childhood!

    Goodbye, Childhood!

    A ritual befor thr tooth-filling ceremony begins.

    Goodbye, Childhood!

    Metatah, a tooth-filling ceremony to say goodbye to childhood.

    Goodbye, Childhood!

    Goodbye, Childhood!

    Goodbye, Childhood!
    A ritual befor thr tooth-filling ceremony begins.

    Goodbye, Childhood!
    Metatah, a tooth-filling ceremony to say goodbye to childhood.

    Goodbye, Childhood!

    Our contributor Agung Parameswara witnessed a Balinese ceremony where children say goodbye to their childhood as they become young adults...

    It was 3 a.m. when Brahmantya Murti and his siblings got ready for one of the most important ceremonies of their lives. On this day they were going to go through a Balinese Hindu ceremony where a child is “initiated” into adulthood.

    In their family home at Puri Rangki Siangan in the Siangan Village of Gianyar, the brothers and sisters were preparing themselves for this holy ritual. Clad in modest white ceremonial clothes, the five siblings would symbolically leave their carefree childhood behind and enter early adulthood by undertaking the ritual called metatah or mepandes. This is a tooth-filing ceremony, the purpose being to eliminate the power of negative influences within a human being.

    If you have never seen this ceremony before, come and join me as I witnessed this family holding the metatah ritual...

    The Tooth Fairy
    Mepandes is considered a very important process in the life of a Balinese and it must be performed before a person is married. The ceremony may cost a lot though, so to save money this ritual is often held prior to a wedding ceremony or sometimes before a cremation (also known as the ngasti or maligia ritual) to honor their ancestors.

    The mepandes ceremony also involves a sangging, a man who is especially trained and religiously sanctioned as a tooth-filer. For the ceremony of Brahmantya Murti and his siblings, it was Ida Bagus Kakiang Rai that was appointed to be the sangging. The sangging will carefully file down a small part of each participants’ incisors – for the Balinese this part of the tooth is believed to represent the animallike characteristics in a human. The process begins when the sangging places a small piece of sugarcane in the corner of the participant’s mouth – this is to keep the participant’s jaw open while the sangging is filing their teeth. The upper canine teeth are filed down first, followed by the lower ones. The actual process takes around 10 to 15 minutes for each person.

    “Filing down the teeth represents our striving to tame what the Balinese Hindu consider as the six enemies of a human,” said the 76-year-old sangging. “The enemies are nafsu (lust), lobha (greed), kroda (anger), maha (confusion or anxiety), matsarya (envy) and mada (conceit). The ritual is a must among the Balinese, and it is the parents’ obligation to hold this ceremony. All Balinese parents must host the mepandes ritual for their children.”

    Once the ritual was done, I got a chance to talk a bit with Brahmantya. “We are very grateful that our parents managed to hold the mepandes ritual for us,” he stated. Brahmantya is currently a student at the Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta, and he had especially come home to join this ritual with his siblings. That day I also met with Oka Wisnumurti, an infl uential person at Puri Siangan, who mentioned that this ritual had been arranged to coincide with the ngasti or maligia ceremony as well. “Because this ritual is also to express our gratitude and respect to our ancestors,” he said.

     

     
    Agung Parameswara

       Contributor : Agung Parameswara


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