May 9th, 2020
With a strong farming tradition, the Balinese hold in high regard all that helps them with agricultural life including livestock such as pigs, chickens and cows. In Bali, Tumpek Kandang is a day to honour these animals. To show gratitude on this day, the Balinese present offerings to Sang Hyang Rare Angon, the God of cattle and livestock, in hopes of preventing disease and for the eternal safety and health of the animals. The Balinese view these celebrations as a way to appreciate work performed by these animals as well as the provision of food.
Tumpek Kandang is derived from the word “kandang” meaning cage or animal pen. The Balinese celebrate Tumpek Kandang every 210 days, on the Saturday of the 22nd week of the Pawukon calendar.
Cows and buffalos that help with ploughing fields, as well as chickens that are raised for poultry and eggs are each provided with their own special offerings. Cows are washed, dressed and special cone-shaped caps made of coconut leaves are placed around their horns. Pigs are typically decorated with a white cloth wrapped around their bellies. Animals are fed special foods, sprinkled with holy water and rice, and prayers are carried out.
At the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud a ceremony takes place for the safety and health of the monkeys and other animals, as the monkeys play a vital role in the social and economic life of the Padangtegal village. After the ritual procession, the monkeys are given special foods not normally provided, such as grapes, eggs, carrots and other fruits.
In the modern context, Tumpek Kandang is not only about farm animals but also linked with the preservation of wildlife. Celebrations are held at zoos and wildlife preserves, where staff perform ceremonies in honour of the animals. Tumpek Kandang reminds people to respect nature and be grateful for the blessings that it provides.