Subak Ceremony

Before the work starts in the rice field, implementation is composed by the klian subak (The head of irrigation community), a priest (pemangku), and a few members of subak go to the sources of holy water like Lake Batur.

They take their offerings with them to obtain the blessing of the gods of the lake or the sacred spring. Some water is taken and placed in bamboo container (sudjang) wrapped and decorated beautifully.

After returning to the village, the sudjang is deposited in the temple of subak. The spirit of the holy water is believed embodied the container and the feast (mapag) is given in the honor of the divine guests. They entertain the guests by performing some dances and burn incense to keep them interested.

The fields are sprinkled with holy water and the rest of sudjang is poured into the canal of subak to gain blessings of deities. The subak members meet again to take a vow not to steal water from one another. The land is cleansed with offerings to the evil spirits and cock fights take place to satisfy their thirst of blood.

When planting time arrives, the land is ploughed time and time again and sometimes the people will organize the bull race (megrumbungan) before the planting. The expensive expense of inviting guests made the bull races rare these days. As for the spectators it is the opportunity to gamble, promote work and the bull races considered a good investment because of gods, pleased by gay, colorful event and repay the organiser with great harvest.

When the rice field is prepared, the mother-grain, which has been selected from the largest and most beautiful ears, soaked in water for two days and two nights and placed in mat and sprinkled with water until the germ started to break. A nursery is developed in a corner of the field to receive young sprouts and planted on certain day set by the religious calendar. They remain in nursery for two months; then when theyh ave developed, they are pulled out, washed, pruned, tied in bunches and then exposed to the air for one night.

By this time the rice fields (sawahs) are clean and ready to receive the young plants. Offerings are presented to Dewi Sri, the owner of the rice fields with his hands, plants the first nine sprouts and regrouped into the highest corner of the rice fields. He begins with the central one(1); then one to the right(2), one to the left into the direction of the sea behind him (3); he turns to the left to plant the third central(4); and then to the direction of the mountain (5); and finally the central is planted into four intermediate direction the following order:

9 5 6
4 1 2
8 3 7

This ritual plantation is presented to Nawa Sangga the magic rose of the winds which is the Balinese cardinal directions (pengider-ideran).

The points or Kadja is corresponding to our north points always to the direction of Mount Agung or the klod indicated to the direction of the sea.

Once the ritual of nine cardinal points has been established, the rest of seedlings are planted all over the field. The plants stuck into the mud in rows at intervals of one hand-span. Often the field’s owner gives a party this time to gain the respect of gods. Soon the rice becomes green and new shoots appear but the rice needs some serious attention it has to be weeded and watered immensely.

The offerings (sayut sarwa genep) are dedicated to protect the plants from parasite. After forty- two days, the offerings are made (dedinan) to celebrate its feast day. In about three month, the seeds start to appear and the rice is said to be pregnant like the women craving for sour food. Therefore the offerings contain of sour fruits, eggs and flowers.

A stylized figure of women (tjili), made of palm-leaf, provided for this occasion with male sex organ and presented to the field, followed by speeches and repeated three times ‘psu pru, djero, mbaleh loh mabutih” ( “ pst , look at the women with testicles!”) to help the rice to ripe. The menace birds then appear. To scare them away, the rice field is covered by an intricate metallic strings

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