Tumpek Kandang is the day to worship Sang Hyang Rare-Angon, the God of animals. The name of Tumpek Kandang is derived from two words, "Tumpek" meaning Saturday and "Kandang", the Balinese word for the household animals such as cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, dogs, and birds - all of which are highly valued by the Balinese.
Cows in Bali receive better treatment than other animals because they assist farmers when plowing the rice field. The cows are washed and dressed-up in clothes fit for humans and special cone shaped spirals of coconut leaves are placed on their horns. On this day, pigs are usually decorated with a white cloth wrapping their bellies. The animals are then fed with special foods, sprinkled with rice and holy water and prayers are offered.
This ritual certainly is not an animal worship ritual, The Balinese consider animals as friends for life created by God as a living creature. Human life is much assisted by animals, especially in satisfying the needs of food, the labor force, religious ceremonies and the economy. For the sake of the preservation and prosperity of such animals, the Balinese plead for God as the Greatest Source.
Tumpek Kandang has additional meanings as a demonstration of evidence that the Balinese community is aware of animal welfare. This means there is an awareness of owing “merits” to the animal, since such creatures are the preservation and prosperity of the ecosystem. Without animals on earth, the life cycle does not work, and is even interrupted. Tumpek Kandang is not only about farm animals, it is often related to wildlife preservation. Such celebrations can be seen at zoos or wildlife preserves in Bali where the staff hold large ceremonies to honor the animals held in captivity. At the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, although the monkeys are not in captivity, a ceremony is conducted praying for the safety and health of the monkeys because of the huge social and economic role the monkeys play for the main village in Ubud.
Overall, the deeper meaning of Tumpek Kandang is to remind people to keep in touch with nature and be grateful for the blessings that nature has provided. In that sense, Tumpek Kandang can be seen in correlation with the other Tumpek days, such as Tumpek Pengatag (for plants and trees), again all about maintaining a harmonious relationship with all aspects of nature.
Upcoming Tumpek Kandang ceremony dates:
March 25, 2023
October 21, 2023