July 18

Tumpek Landep is a Balinese ceremonial day when offerings are made for objects that are made of metal. The word tumpek means ‘close (to)’ and the word landep means ‘sharp’.

In the early days of Balinese Hinduism, the keris (dagger) was one of the few objects that was made of metal. The keris was a weapon commonly used in battle and regarded as a holy spiritual object with magical powers, playing an important historical role and still does today. The keris is also symbol and a metaphor which instructs you to be as ‘sharp’ as possible in your thinking. On Tumpek Landep, Hindus on the island pay their respects to metal items especially the keris – which is believed to possess spiritual powers.

Tumpek Landep is celebrated every 210 days according to the Balinese ceremonial Pawukon calendar, on the Saturday of its second week, Landep. This day is also referred to as Saniscara Kliwon Landep.

Ceremonies begin in the morning at village temples, where people gather to present offerings and pray to God for their tools made of metals such as iron, bronze, gold etc. Afterwards, at home compounds, additional ceremonies and blessings are performed. In modern times, other objects that contain metal, such as computers, may be honoured. At the household level, Hindus provide offerings for kitchen utensils such as knives, stoves, cutlery and other metal items supporting household life. Farmers create offerings for tools such as sickles, hoes, tractors, ploughs etc. that support their livelihoods. Most Balinese people believe that these ceremonies and blessings will bring them luck and keep them safe.

Rituals are typically performed at the family temple compounds of Pande (metal tool makers or smiths). In Bali, the family name of Pande originally refers to families who usually create metal tools such as keris, knives, etc. For carpenters, house builders, and motorcycle and car workshops, Tumpek Landep a very special day to show appreciation for metal tools that are integral to their work/ livelihoods. Tumpek Landep is also a day for cleaning and purifying heirlooms.

Today, Hindus in Bali often place offerings on their vehicles including bicycles, motorcycles and cars on Tumpek Landep to ask for safety on the roads. Cars and motorcycles are often decorated with offerings made from young coconut leaves, out of respect for the metal used for the vehicles that transport humans on this earth.

Today, Tumpek Landep has been linked to the “human mind” by Hindu religious leaders; tied to how people’s minds and thought processes should be continuously sharpened to gain as much knowledge as possible during life. This results in good attitudes and the ability to control our desires to avoid committing inappropriate behaviour. Tumpek Landep is also linked with the Saraswati holy day, where Balinese Hindus worship the goddess that represents knowledge. Tumpek Landep is thus the day to sharpen the knowledge gained from the goddess Saraswati.

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