Tumpek Uduh: A Traditional Balinese Hindu Ceremony Honouring Plants
The special ceremony to honour plants is known as Tumpek Uduh, a ritual that falls on Saniscara Kliwon Wariga, a day in which God gave grace to mankind in the world. This ceremony is performed in the context of worshiping God in its manifestation as Dewa Sangkara as the plant god. The purpose of Hindus to deliver this ceremony is to thank Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa for having created plants. They also beg to God so that the plants are able to reproduce well. So it can be useful for humans, and can also be used as an offering on Galungan Day.
Tumpek Uduh is also called Tumpek Bubuh, Tumpek Wariga, and Tumpek Pengatag. It’s celebrated by Hindus every 210 days, or 25 days before Galungan, or on the Kliwon Wariga Sanskrit Day. As gratitude, Hindus offer offerings in the form of fruit and flowers, and marrow porridge (made from rice flour, sprinkled with coconut and brown sugar. Tumpek Uduh is a local wisdom of the ancestors so that the residents will protect the environment by always planting trees in the yard. So, it can also be interpreted that the ritual of this ceremony is one of the Balinese efforts to preserve the environment.
The main purpose of the Tumpek Uduh ritual, to provide self-reflection for the community so that the natural environment is preserved as we humans cannot live without it. It’s a known fact that the universe holds many hidden powers that can be utilised for our basic needs, such as the assets of tropical trees and the many plants around us. When this is used appropriately, it will have a positive impact on our lives and make our lives more prosperous. When we utilise it inappropriately, however, it will prove detrimental and harm our lives.
Well-preserved plants and maintaining their existence properly will have positive impacts on humanity that not only affects the surrounding environment but also from an economic standpoint. We can all see tourists flocking to well-maintained natural destinations and experience their astounding beauty including Tegalalang and Jatiluwih, which are tourist attractions that help sustain the economical income of its local residents.
Moreover, people should always remember to remain grateful for the blessings of nature, which is why the Balinese Hindus make offerings and show gratitude towards plants on the day of Tumpek Unduh and remember the importance of plants around us and are obliged to care for them properly so that nature is not damaged and cause a disaster.
In general, this ceremony is carried out in yards or plantations where trees are useful for human life. The usual ceremony is carried out from the morning, afternoon, until late afternoon on all types of plants. Usually, parents will invite their children to participate in this ceremony. The goal is to teach the child to always care for and plant trees when they grow up so that environmental sustainability will be guaranteed at all times.
If explored further, this ceremony has a deep meaning. It teaches humanity to be grateful for the harmony that helps humans live in the natural world of life. Respecting and appreciating the earth and everything in it, especially the existing plants. It gives a sign and deep meaning so that humans will always love nature and the environment which has contributed to sustaining their lives.
Humans are indeed dependent on the universe, which is why the Balinese Hindus highly appreciate and respect the universe and everything it provides. Therefore, in the religious beliefs of Hindus, commemorating Tumpek Uduh is a tribute to the universe, which has provided food for human consumption.
The most important meaning and essence of the Tumpek Uduh celebration is deep gratitude for the abundant natural wealth. All the worships and praises chanted by the priests, ‘pemangku’ or ceremonial leaders are full of the essence of gratitude towards nature.