Craft&Culture


    The Mud Ritual

      30-6-2017
     

    The Mud Ritual

    The Mud Ritual

    The Mud Ritual

    Mud represents prosperity for everyone.

    The Mud Ritual

    The Mud Ritual

    The Mud Ritual

    The Mud Ritual

    The Mud Ritual

    The Mud Ritual

    The Mud Ritual
    Mud represents prosperity for everyone.

    The Mud Ritual

    The Mud Ritual

    The Mud Ritual

    The Mud Ritual

    Our contributor Keyza Widiatmika witnessed a Mabuug-buugan ritual in Kedonganan Village...

    It was three o’clock in the afternoon when I arrived at Kedonganan Village. The mangrove forest was so quiet with no objects floating nor swamp monsters swimming in the water. I was standing on one side of the mangrove forest, enjoying the breezy wind that blew the leaves and watching some crabs running after small creatures, when suddenly the tranquil water rippled. A number of men walked into the water, making the mud crabs frantically hide in their holes. From the west direction, hundreds of footsteps and hands went further into the mud. These people then smeared the mud onto their ivory-skinned bodies until all of their body parts were covered, from toes to necks. They were the people of Kedonganan Village who were about to hold a Mabuug-buugan tradition.

    Back to Roots
    Mabuug-buugan is a ritual held on Ngembak Geni Day, just a day after the Balinese celebrate the Silent Day. The word ‘buug’ comes from the Balinese language meaning for soil or mud. The people of Kedonganan believe that mud is a symbol of Mother Earth and it represents their gratitude to God for fertility.

    For decades, this tradition seemed to be forgotten, however in 2015 a youth organization named Karang Taruna Eka Santhi realized how vital mangroves are to prevent abrasion and tsunami. Then, they finally understood why their ancestors created Mabuug-buugan and how important that ritual really is. The Mabuug-buugan is rich with philosophy; mud that represents water and land is a source of life, while the mangrove trees are the keepers. If the mangroves are gone, the whole area can drown when a great wave comes. Of course, as the future generation of Kedonganan Village, these young people do not want that to happen.

    Their concern was supported by the village officials who decided to cooperate with some academics from Udayana University to do a research on whether or not the mud can be used for the cultural activity. The research resulted in good news when in 2015 the Mabuug-buugan tradition officially resurrected on Ngembak Geni Day to celebrate Saka Year 1937.

    Prosperity for All
    On this year’s Ngembak Geni Day, the people of Kedonganan Village gathered at their banjar (the village’s community center) when the sun was already overhead. All of the villagers were there, from the elders to the youngsters, men and women – I could feel their excitement as they held Mabuug-buugan for the third time in three consecutive years after a long hiatus. When the mass of participants was large enough, they paraded to the Bale Agung Temple intersection to meet with other Kedonganan villagers. Then together they prayed in a temple to ask for God’s blessings so that the ritual can run well. The village chief later ordered the villagers to go to suwung (the mangrove swamp) which was not far from the temple.

    “Mentul menceng mentul menceng, glendang glendong glendang glendong,” the villagers chanted these words along the road. When they arrived at suwung, they immediately covered all of their body parts with mud. Other local people and tourists who watched this ritual also got some mud splashed on them, but they didn’t mind because mud symbolizes prosperity for everyone. The sound of gong bale ganjur musical instruments played by the youngsters also made the participants even more passionate to smear mud on each other’s faces.

    Kedonganan beach became their last destination to take “the mud bath”. The villagers hope that the implementation of Mabuug-buugan tradition will not only strengthen the kinship of Kedonganan villagers, but also make each one of them a better person in the New Year.

     


       Author:  Team
      Magazine issue > Craft&Culture
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