A ritual of fertility
Paper Edition | Page: 21
Fun: Village boys rotate the sumbu three times clockwise as part of the ritual while a girl in traditional attire and jewelry lies face down while the sumbu is rotated next to her.
Timbrah village in Karangasem, located around 20 minutes from Candidasa’s tourist sites, has a unique way of expressing their gratitude to the Creator.
Dressed: The Usaba Sumbu ritual, held over several days, also includes a Rejang dance performance by young, unmarried girls from 10 p.m. until dawn.A joyful atmosphere filled the air one Sunday morning as the village prepared for days of festivity known as Usaba Sumbu.
The village had been beautified with various traditional decorations made of fresh coconut and palm leaves and bright cloth.
Festive: A joyful atmosphere filled the air one Sunday morning as the village prepared for days of festivity known as Usaba Sumbu.The road leading to Panti Kaler temple, the site of the festivities, boasted the most beautiful decor.
At a roadside corner, several villagers roasted pigs in a makeshift pit filled with burning firewood. The suckling pigs would be presented as offerings later that day which would eventually would end in the communal feast. Each household offered one whole suckling pig.
In the temple area, there were four tall bamboo stands in the spacious yard. Each had been adorned with intricate palm leaves so the final shape of the bamboo resembled an upside down cone. The decorated bamboo is called sumbu, literally meaning axis, the main paraphernalia of the whole festivity.
The tip of the axis was decorated with feathers of the bird of paradise, believed to be the messenger of God.
At the climax of the ritual, village boys rotate the sumbu three times clockwise. A girl in traditional attire and jewelry was asked to lie face down on the ground while the sumbu was rotated next to her.
Standing high: Four tall bamboo stands sit in the temple yard adorned with intricate palm leaves. The decorated bamboo is called sumbu, literally meaning axis.
It is said that the boys were reenacting the churning of Mount Mandara Giri, an episode in Hindu mythology when gods and giants turned the mountain to find the elixir of immortality known as amerta.
The girl symbolized Laksmi, the Goddess of Prosperity, who is expected to bestow prosperity on the whole village.
The ritual, held over several days, also included a Rejang dance performance by young, unmarried girls from 10 p.m. until dawn, said Nengah Bagiasa, one of the villagers.
— Photos by Anggara Mahendra
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