Celebrating Kuningan Feast

         KUNINGAN fes􀆟vity celebrated by the Hindus ten days a􀅌er Galungan (10 February 2015) is marked with a number of typical paraphernalia such as tamiang, endongan, ter or sampian gantung. These paraphernalia are conceived as symbols synonymous with the tools of war. What are the meanings behind the symbols?

      The most typical and marked symbol in the celebra- 􀆟on of Kuningan (20 Februari 2015) is tamiang or literally meaning shield. The shield is common tradi􀆟onal tool used in warfare. On the celebra􀆟on of Kuningan, the tamiang is installed in the corners of the house and shrines.

     Tamiang is o􀅌en interpreted as a symbol of self-protec􀆟on. Tamiang, when observing its round shape, it is o􀅌en understood as a symbol of Dewata Nawa Sanga or nine dei􀆟es ruling in nine points of the compass. It also symbolizes the turning of the wheel of nature that refers to the understanding of life described as wheels.

     Other than tamiang, there is also other paraphernalia, namely endongan. According to the Dic􀆟onary of Balinese-Indonesian (Bali Elementary Educa􀆟on Agency, 1991) the word endongan is defined as ‘a provision bag made from coconut sheath.’

     Endongan is usually interpreted as a tool or container to hold supplies. The other paraphernalia are ter and sampian gantung. Ter is a symbol of arrow (weapon) because of its shape resembles an arrow, while sampian gantung as a symbol of disaster repellent.

     The ritual paraphernalia synonymous with the tools of warfare are indeed quite meaningful. However, the ques􀆟on is o􀅌en raised, why is the celebra􀆟on of Kuningan o􀅌en marked with ritual paraphernalia iden􀆟cal with the tools of warfare?

     Other than Kuningan, the Galungan day celebrated ten days earlier is also laden with symbols of war. Interpreta􀆟on of Galungan as the day of victory or the victory of war has confirmed it. Installa􀆟on of penjor also refers to the symbol of victory.

     A feast is indeed meant to constantly remind people of the nature of human iden􀆟ty as well as to understand about the nature of its presence in the life.

     Essen􀆟ally, life is indeed a war. Throughout its life, human is endlessly faced with a long ba􀆩le. The history of mankind, if contemplated more profoundly, retains a true history of war.

     For Balinese humans, war in the life is physical war in macrocosm and spiritual war in microcosm. Precisely, the inner war in the Celebrating Kuningan Feast heart poses the greatest and the most powerful war. This is a never-ending war and even more o􀅌en brings in loses for humanity.

      In the context of the inner war, humans must for􀆟fy themselves with a shield in the form of self-control. The ability to control one’s self is a reflec􀆟on of awareness of the nature and iden􀆟ty. Maybe this is underlying the name of Kuningan (kauningan or knowledge). On the day of the Kuningan devotees worship Lord Indra, the manifesta􀆟on of God as the ruler of sense control (ten enemies in human). On the Kuningan day, people are made aware, mindful and always control the senses.

     However, to always win the ‘ba􀆩le’ in life, humans must have enough logis􀆟c or provision. Provision is symbolized with endongan. Its content is no other than the universe of life. The provision is also equipped with ter (arrow) as weapon. The main human weapon in the life is the sharpness of mind or quality of mind. Sharpness of mind is sustained by jnana (knowledge).  Source: h􀆩p://www. balisaja.com

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