Kuningan is one of the biggest Hindu holidays which is celebrated by the Hindu community in Indonesia especially Bali, since this island is predominantly occupied by Hindus. Kuningan is the continuity of Galungan’s Holliday, which comes ten days earlier. The word derives from “kauningan” which means self-reflection to achieve better spirituality to keep away negative energy. The Holliday has three paces, which are; pre kuningan day that is commonly called Penampahan Kuningan, Kuningan itself and the last is Manis Kuningan or post kuningan day.
The pre kuningan day or penampahan is the time to prepare the ceremony on the following day. All houses normally prepare the offerings needed for the big day and foods for the family members. The works are usually divided between the family members. The women in the family take care of the offerings for the Kuningan day. They do all the preparations from cutting up the coconut leaves to form them into delicate form of offerings into the ceremony procession. The real purpose of the offerings made is for the reminders of the all mighty god and all gifts he gives to the human beings. Each offering has its own symbol; such as the penjor displayed at the front gate of the locals’ houses symbolizes the prosperity. The offerings made are the way Balinese gratitude to the all mighty God.
Meanwhile the men prepare for the foods. Usually here, men are making traditional cooking such as lawar, a mixture of vegetables with meat and spices. They also make the Penjor, Bamboo banner decorated with coconut leaves or other heavy duties; such as slaughtering chickens for the offering, or climbing up coconut trees for the leaves and the fruits.
Then the activity begins early in the morning on the following day which is the big day, Kuningan. Bali scene shifts into a deep spirituality and religious mode for a sacred day. The whole Bali areas are so colorful that day coming out from many varied offerings made by the households, penjors, the cloths wrapped up the temple’s shrines, and the locals in their Balinese traditional outfits. These all colors bring up the festivity of the Holliday apart from the religious side. The incense scent spreads from each house lining up or everywhere your eyes can see. The scent creates the atmosphere of worshipping. This is the time for all locals to pray at their family temples as well as their village temple. The prayers are for the God and the ancestors which are believed to come down to earth to visit their family members who are still alive. It is also believed that the time limit to pray during Kuningan day is up to 12 am. After the time, the ancestors are leaving the earth. The whole family members pray for the guidance, prosperity, health, long live and all positivity for their lives.
Some processions at the village temple also take part during this ceremony. It is flocked by the worshipers. Some people come all the way from the city to gather up with family and to pray together at the family the village temple. The temple’s field will be full of some men’s crowed for a cock fighting as apart of the ceremony procession. The cock fighting takes place at the temple is not considered as gambling as what is commonly exposed. There is no bet. It is purely done for the ceremony or as a form of sacrifice. The meat of lost roosters will be equally divided then the men can take home for family feed.
Then the next day is the post Kuningan day or Manis Kuningan. The time for sight seeing and meet extended family members or neighbors. The family comes to see each other, gathers up for sharing information, talk and maintain the intimacy. During the visits, that the visitors should eat the food and drink prepared by the host or the house owners. It is considered to be rude if the visitors do not eat or drink or try the food and drinks given. This is the Balinese hospitality where the host offers and prepares the Food & Beverage to respect the visitors. They give the best that they can and have. Sometimes, they would not eat the same food or drink the beverages they offer to the guest since they prepare them for the visitors. On the other hand, other families share their food and beverages from the kitchen all the same with the visitors. There is also special food, which is made for this day, called tape or fermented sticky rice. The taste is sweet and best eaten with traditional rice cake. Sometimes it is accompanied with coffee during family conversation. Some people have another option to maximize their togetherness. They would go for sight seeing to some object of attractions to spend quality time with family since most of the time they have been busy with work and hardly have time together.
The essence of this Kuningan day is to show our gratitude to God for what we have enjoyed with family, to keep good memory of our passed away ancestors, to stay on the right tract for happiness, to maintain the good relationships between humans, environment and God which all are in the Tri Hita Karana or Three Relationships. These three relationships have been the Hindu’s essences of life, which are performed in all aspects daily. (Kus)