" Sapuh Leger " - A Balinese Cleansing Ritual On Tumpek Wayang

February 23, 2018

" Sapuh Leger "
A Purification Ceremony For Those Born
During Tumpek Wayang

Tumpek Wayang is unique ceremony that is held to thank the Gods for the creation of arts and all forms of creative expressions related to the arts. On this day, offerings and prayers are presented to musical instruments, shadow puppets and the Barongs. Those who own shadow puppets will also perform a special ceremony accompanied by the shadow puppet theatre and musical instruments.

Balinese who are born during the week of Wayang in the Balinese calendar will undergo a purification rite called Melukat or Ruwatan, as the Balinese believe that people born on this day would incur the wrath of Lord Batara Kala unless ceremonies are conducted and Wayang Sapuh Leger performances are staged.

Photo by: Januartha

The words Sapu Leger come from word Sepuh and Leger which mean purification of the inner self from negative elements. Sapu Leger is always performed with a puppet show and the Balinese people believe that Wayang Sapuh Leger is a sacred ritual drama. Wayang Sapuh Leger tells a story about Batara Kala and Dewa Kumara.

In this story, Batara Kala is the son of Dewa Siwa and Dewi Durga. From a particular lontar, it said that Batara Kala was born on Tumpek Wayang from a sperm of Dewa Siwa who was lusting after Dewi Durga. As a product of pure lust, Batara Kala is deemed as evil and has bad a behaviour, a scary face, and is always hungry.

Photo by: newspeeps.wordpress.com

For this reason, Dewa Siwa has a responsibility towards Batara Kala. One day, Dewa Siwa disguised himself as a shepherd and admitted that Batara Kala was his son. That day, Batara Kala asked Dewa Siwa, what are the foods that he can eat? Dewa Siwa answered and gave permission to Batara Kala to eat children who were born on Tumpek Wayang and people who go out during certain times during the week of Wayang.

Unluckily, the next son of Dewa Siwa, Dewa Kumara was born on Tumpek Wayang too and Batara Kala tried to eat him. So, Dewa Siwa came to meet Batara Kala while Batara Kala is chasing Dewa Kumara. He was willing to be eaten by Batara Kala, providing that Batara Kala could translate what Dewa Siwa was about to say to him - a mantra in the Kawi language.

Photo by: Januartha

Fortunately, Batara Kala couldn't translate the last sentence of the mantra - and he continued to chase Dewa Kumara who is hiding in a house located within a Balinese village. Batara Kala went into the house where Dewa Kumara was hiding, and came face to face with a puppeteer who was having a puppet show and a ceremony for Tumpek Wayang.

As there was a ceremony, offerings were laid out, along with incense and prayers. As Batara Kala was exhausted and hungry from running around all day, he ate all of the offerings at the puppeteer's house. The puppeteer then urged Batara Kala to stop hunting after Dewa Kumara as he had eaten all of the offerings.

Until today, children who were born on Tumpek Wayang have to make the same particularly unique offering for Batara Kala and conduct a Wayang Sapuh Leger. Usually, Wayang Sapuh Leger is conducted during the day. We hope you've found this post interesting! Do share with your family and friends and your holiday snaps, stories and videos with us. Follow us on Facebook and Instagramand tag us for a chance to be featured!