To Maintain Peace, Residents Preserve Tradition of Burning “Memedi”

To Maintain Peace, Residents Preserve Tradition of Burning “Memedi”

Bungaya customary village, Bebandem, Karangasem, is one of the old villages in Bali. Every customary and religious ritual at the village takes place uniquely. One of them can be seen in the implementation of usaba mumu or familiarly known as usaba memedi. It’s named as usaba memedi because the ritual is marked with the ‘burning’

Bungaya customary village, Bebandem, Karangasem, is one of the old villages in Bali. Every customary and religious ritual at the village takes place uniquely. One of them can be seen in the implementation of usaba mumu or familiarly known as usaba memedi. It’s named as usaba memedi because the ritual is marked with the ‘burning’ of memedi (spirits). The procession is carried out amid the pounding sounds of kulkul (wooden split drum) throughout customary hamlet and clan temples at night. How does the implementation look like?

Usaba mumu is held once a year falling in January (Balinese seventh month). This year, peak of the implementation took place on Wednesday (Jan. 18). Fifteen days in advance, residents have looked for ritual paraphernalia ingredients such as young coconut leaf, fruit, palm leaf and others at local customary village.

‘’Usaba Mumu’’ di Desa Adat Bungaya

Then, three days before the peak of procession, all the people create the figure of memedi made from various leaves, such as the leaf of aba, bamboo, eggplant and pulet. The leaves are arranged in such a way to form humanoid figure coming with tribal marking by using lime betel.

“This paraphernalia is ritualized first in the morning at respective family temple. At night, it is taken out for the ritual procession,” said the apparatus of Bungaya customary village, I Gede Adi Krisna Widana, just before the peak of the ritual began.

At the peak of usaba mumu, thousands of families at Bungaya village have been busy with ritual preparations from the morning. Krisna said that before sunrise, the whole customary village apparatus come out to village temple or Bale Agung temple to prepare all means of rituals such as pras daksina, bayuan and kelanan.

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In the meantime, all people have prepared ritual paraphernalia known as penyagaan (guard) made from palm tree stem from the morning. It is made to resemble a human figure decorated with various means such as coconut leaf arrangement and wild cherry fruit. The penyagaan means that people must be able to control their passions as preparation to pay homage.

The guard figure is placed in front of their respective alley. It will be dismantled at midday, after going through particular ritual. “According to local belief, all the guard figures can later be mounted again in paddy fields or anywhere in order to avoid any catastrophe,” said Krisna.

In the afternoon, the whole community, especially women, will say prayers at Pemuhunan Temple. This temple is quite unique located under a sacred banyan tree without any shrines. Prior to the prayers, thousands of women are sitting around a banyan tree along with their offerings before the worship around 22:00

On the other hand, men are preparing the memedi figure that will be burned at the location of guard figure in the morning. After completing the ritual at the Pemuhunan Temple, then memedi figure is burned simultaneously marked with the sounds of kulkul at 15 customary hamlets and clan temples that keep pounding until the procession is over. Burning the memedi figure has the meaning of burning all the natures of anger and negative traits in human beings, so that people can live harmonious and peaceful life.

The ashes are ritualized again after formed into human figure at the location of burning. When everything is over, the offerings prepared are immediately offered at the ash-made figure. “After the procession, it usually rains at the night symbolizing if the ritual has run smoothly,” said Krisna.

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Three days after this procession, the entire local residents say prayers at the village temple. This process is called ngelisin where all pilgrims invoke holy water. After making introspection for three days, all the local people go through life with a new atmosphere. Basically, this procession symbolizes the journey of self-control and restores the butha kala to maintain the balance of macrocosm and microcosm. (kmb)



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