Balinese Hindus celebrate festival of prosperity
Hundreds of Balinese merchants celebrated Wednesday the religious festival dedicated to Rambut Sedana, the guardian deity of traders, money and prosperity.
Most stores, loan agencies and cooperatives working in micro-financing were closed, and those that were open did not get any customers since Balinese Hindus believe that any commercial transaction involving the handling of money on that day would bring bad luck.
Nonetheless, the hustle and bustle of trading activities at Badung market remained the same. Since Wednesday morning, hundreds of vendors performed prayer rituals at their respective markets’ temples, including Pura Melanting, Pura Beji and Pura Desa.
During the rituals, the traders cleaned the plastic, wooden, or woven bamboo containers they use to keep their money in. They then presented an offering on the containers, believed to be the earthly abode of Rambut Sedana.
Offerings vendor Ni Luh Sudarini, 31, said, “I prayed that I would be able to save some money for my children and that more people would purchase my products.”
Earlier she had placed a set of offerings that she had personally made. The offerings comprised uncooked rice, corn, cassava, stalks of paddy, rice cake and several Chinese coins. All of them symbolize material prosperity and welfare.
Across Bali, traders brought their families to pray at several important temples, including Melanting temple at Pulaki in Buleleng and Batur temple in Bangli. The deities residing in these temples are believed to be very generous and will bestow economic opportunities and plentiful profits to the traders.
The festival falls on Budha Wage Klawu according to the Balinese calendar, which combines a calendar based on the movement of heavenly bodies with one based on a cyclic, perpetual calculation. Philosophically, the day is dedicated to Laksmi, the goddess of rivers and forests, who blesses mankind with the gifts of wealth and
Balinese cultural expert Cokorda Sawitri said that the celebration of Budha Wage Kelawu in this modern era is important to counter the spread of corruption that has turned into common practice in this country nowadays.
I Ketut Wiana quoted kekawin Nitisastra that money must be seen as merely a means and not a goal in life. When money is used in a religious concept, it will remain as a means to deliver mankind to perfect happiness.
“Money should be used only for pursuing dharma [good deeds],” he quoted.