Mesaba, Subak's Ritual as Manifestation of Farmer's Thanks Giving

The Hindu community in Bali continually pays tribute for the proceeds of what they have undertaken. No matter its proceeds are sizable or bijou, they stay to hold ritual activity as the expression of their gratitude to the Creator. Such gratitude is frequently embodied through yajna (holy sacrifice), a presentation to the Almighty God for all of his endowment.

Similarly, the tradition is carried out ny farmers. When the rice has turned yellow or some days by the harvest time, farmers in Tabanan hold the mesaba ritual as an utterance of thanks to god in his manifestation of Goddess Sri. Mesaba ritual transpires at daytime at Bedugul, a subak temple that habitually located in the upstream of rice field territory. By and large, mesaba is held once in three months or in accordance with the age of paddy planted.

When the mesaba ritual is performed, the ambiance of subak(Balinese traditional irrigation cooperative) looks so effervescent. The subak temple is fetooned with fabric and other traditional accessories. On the entrance gate, a pair of penjor poles are installed and furnished with its ornamental paraphernalia. And farmers also install penjor of small size at their own rice field. It is equipped with sanggah cucuk (bamboo shrine) used to offerings and erected close to the temuku or water divider. Facial expression of farmers looks remarkably exuberant as the harvest is coming soon, where they would reap the fruit of their hard work within the last three months.

Prior to the performing the ritual, the subak members make roasted suckling pig and lawar dishes. These traditional activities are mainly executed in the morning at the courtyard of the Bedugul, the house of subak head or other place determined. Each farmer is only obliged to bring a coconut, bunch of banana leaf and string of firewood. Afterwards, they work together in mutual assistance enthusiatically and in familial atmosphere.

Other than preparing the roasted pig, they also arrange dishes like lawar, salad of star fruit leaf and ritual ingredients required. Remainder of the meat is then distruted to each subak members justly and then brought home to make a small fetivity with the family.

At noon, the mesaba ritual is commenced. Roasted pig and other ritual ingredients are presented at the Bedugul. The subak members, particularly women, then present their canang oblation and at their rice field. It is many time chaired by a temple priest. Having worshipped, the subak member return home and bring along with them a small portion of such roasted pig.

Get interested to learn more about this? Simply come to the subak at Tegaljadi and Tunjuk Village, Marga, Tabanan. There, the mesaba ritual takes a place joyously and solemnly with an accompaniment of dynamic gong kebyar gamelan composition.


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