Nearly 50 years on, turtles, caterpillars sacrificed in Bali ritual to ensure peace on Earth

Wed Jan 7, 2015 12:17am EST
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By Trisha Sertori

JUGA, Indonesia (Reuters) - The last time Wayan Rendeh took part in a temple ceremony in his Balinese village of Juga, man had not yet landed on the moon.

The ancient rite of Karya Padudusan Agung, which roughly translates to great work, is held every three or four decades to invigorate the temple's waning powers and bring peace on Earth.

Rendeh, 76, was among several thousand white-clad worshippers gathered on Tuesday at the temple of Siva, the deity of destruction, for the first such rituals since 1968 in the predominantly Hindu island of Bali in mostly Muslim Indonesia.

In the temple's inner sanctum, high priests offered seeds, flowers, fruit and meat from devotees to appease Siva and his consort Durga, accompanied by the rhythmic ringing of bells.

Young girls in saffron and white satin wraparounds, with head-dresses of coconut palm fronds and marigolds, danced in the temple complex to sacred tunes played by gamelan troupes.

Young men dragged a buffalo three times around the temple, with the frenzied animal making a dash into adjoining rice fields before being slaughtered to symbolically feed demons. Goats, pigs, turtles, fish and caterpillars were also sacrificed.

"This sacrifice is symbolic of the character of human beings - greed, laziness, stupidity and anger," said Mangku Puseh Juga, one of 36 priests on hand to sanctify the temple.

"The main goal is (to) balance the macro world of nature and the micro world within each human."   Continued...