Usually if something is thrown at us, we find it upsetting and may even want to take revenge. The people of Kapal Village in Mengwi however will throw tipat-bantal (rice patties) at each other while dancing merrily and those who are struck continue to dance without missing a beat and without the slightest thought of
Usually if something is thrown at us, we find it upsetting and may even want to take revenge. The people of Kapal Village in Mengwi however will throw tipat-bantal (rice patties) at each other while dancing merrily and those who are struck continue to dance without missing a beat and without the slightest thought of revenge.
Actually what is known as the ‘tipat-bantal war ‘ is a tradition that is carried out every year in the month of Sasih Kapat, that lands in September or October. This traditional ‘war’ is related to the agricultural life of Kapal Village as is performed as an expression of gratitude to God for the abundant harvest.
The tipat-bantal war is centered around the Desa and Puseh Temples of Kapal. Here, Tipat (diamond-shaped glutenous rice patty wrapped in pleated pandanus leaf) are interpreted as a symbol of feminine energy (pradhana) while bantal (same contents in an elongated shape) symbolize masculine energy (purusha) and both represent mother earth whose physical form is the soil. In short, food is signified as the main weapon that is used defend life itself.
The tipat-bantal war tradition is said to have begun with the arrival of Ki Kebo Iwa who came to Kapal village on assignment from the King of Bali at the time; Asta Sura Ratna Bhumi Banten to repair the village Purusadha Temple. However, Kapal village was suffering a famine at the time and a chaotic and pathetic condition was overwhelming the villagers.
Ki Kebo Iwa eventually invoked instruction from the Creator by meditation at the Purusadha Temple. In his meditation, he received a revelation from Hyang Pasupati instructing the local residents to implement Aci Rah Pengangon or Aci Rare Angon by presenting tipat-bantal. Both of these offerings served as the symbol of the source of life – the absences of which had caused the famine.
Ever since then, this interesting ritual has been routinely performed with people gathering in front of Kapal Village’s Temple, where they divide themselves into two groups. Each group has tipat and bantal ‘weapons’ and after being instructed by the village authorities the two teams start throwing the rice patties at each other accompanied by the sound of Baleganjur gamelan music and the striking of the kulkul (traditional split wooden percussion instrument/tool).
The battle begins in the middle courtyard of the temple and then moves to the outer courtyard and finally onto the street with tipat or bantal wizzing like bullets as they are thrown blindly by the participants in a trance like state. Many of the men engaged in battle are shirtless though they all wear customary clothing (headscarf, sarong and selempot ).
Although the rice patties must be thrown northward and southward, some of the participants will ignorantly throw the tipat-bantal at those watching the spectacle, but everyone seems happy and excited about the whole thing. Interestingly, despite being hit rather hard by the tipat-bantal, no one is ever injured and in fact those who are struck laugh vivaciously.
The war lasts for about 30 minutes and ends with the ‘warriors’ shaking hands in forgiveness and everyone clearing the area of rice patty debris with many people taking home bits of the ‘shrapnel’ to disperse in the moors and paddy fields.(BTN/015)