At least four times a year visitors to Bali will bear witness to cars and motorbikes cruising the streets of the island decorated with ‘sampian’ and ‘lamak’ offerings made of young coconut leaves and flowers. The decorations mark that the cars and motorbikes have been blessed through ceremonious rituals. Such rituals take place on Kuningan and Tumpek Landep, both ‘pawukon’ days based on the Balinese lunar calendar that fall every six months (210 days). While ceremonies held on Kuningan are part of the great Hindu holiday of Galungan, a day in celebration of the glory of good against evil, thus not in connection with vehicles.
Ceremonies held on Tumpek Landep day are uniquely held to bless metallic objects, including cars, motorbikes, and machinery. The rituals aim to honor Sang Hyang Pasupati, Lord of Heirlooms, for the creation of steel goods. Tumpek Landep day falls twice this year, on Saturday, 4th March, and on Saturday 30th September. While the word ‘tumpek’ means a particular day on a Saturday in the Balinese lunar calendar and the word ‘landep’ in Balinese means ‘sharp’. People who were born on Tumpek Landep day are believed to have sharp minds and brains.
The Ethymology Tumpek Landep is High Balinese language. The word tumpek means ‘close (to)’ and the wordlandep means ‘sharp’. Together it thus translates as ‘close to sharp’. But what does this mean? We will have to go back in time to shed some light on this cryptic word combination. In the early days of Balinese Hinduism the keris (dagger) was one of the few objects that were made of metal. As a dagger the keris was a weapon which was used in battles. More important, there were also lots of special keris that were regarded as holy, spiritual object with magical power. As such, the keris played an important role in the early days of Balinese Hinduism (and as a matter of fact it still does).