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Getting to Know Balinese “Mapeed” Ritual

One of Bali’s most iconic ceremonies is the Mapeed – or sometimes mepeed – where lines of Balinese women walk together as ritual. Mepeed or peed is a unique tradition that exists in several villages in Bali. The Hindu community in Bali has long had a unique culture, beautiful, rich in meaning and full of mystery. The mepeed tradition in the village of Sukawati, Gianyar, Bali is one of the traditions that is always carried out every Pujawali (commemoration of the birthday of a holy place) at Kahyangan Tiga Temple and is considered as a protector of the universe (the savior of the universe in a abstract way). This tradition is carried out at Anggara Kliwon Tambir at Dalem Gede Sukawati Temple. In carrying out this, there is always a process and collaboration of several elements of society which is commonly called Tri Manggalaning Yadnya, namely the main actor of the activity or executor.

mepeed -balinese ritual
mepeed -balinese ritual

The mepeed tradition continues to be passed down from generation to generation and is forbidden to be abolished because it is sacred. The sacred value of this tradition lies in the purpose of mepeed namely mendak (looking for) tirta or toya ning (holy water) which is in Taman Beji Temple. Furthermore, the holy water will be used during the Pujawali event. The meaning of Mepeed is to walk hand in hand, therefore residents who come are required to come in groups and are not allowed to come alone. The mepeed which was held in Sukawati village was unlike the mepeed which was held in other villages where usually the participants were only attended by women who accompanied neatly while nyuun (carrying something over their heads) gebogan. The mepeed in this village was also attended by men, children, youth, to the elderly who walked side by side wearing Balinese’s payas (clothing).


The mapeed tradition is one of the unique cultures and traditions in Bali that has been passed down from generation to generation until now, and even then not all traditional villages on the Island of the Gods have it, but only a few certain villages maintain their ancestral heritage. What we usually see is the accompaniment of mothers wearing traditional uniforms, both the color of the clothes (usually white) and the sarong/cloth, their hair in a bun and even the shawl tied at the waist is also uniform, then they walk hand in hand carrying a gebongan offering that is of average height. to go to a temple. Apart from being a number of leading tourist objects in Bali, many unique cultures and traditions can be a special attraction for tourists, so that there are many variations of entertainment that they can watch, making holiday activities not boring. The procession of the Mapeed tradition is also a camera object for photographers.


In this article we will make you experiencing the vibes of mepeed tradition in Sukawati, Gianyar. Out of the squalor and chaos of the market, a stream of waving long bamboo flagpoles or penjors start to appear. Accompanied by the sound of gamelan gong and crashing cymbals, more heads appear over the hill. Women dressed to perfection in full pakain adat (traditional dress) walking carefully through the rubble in newly acquired high heels and little girls painted up like dolls, are followed by boys in more regal gear.


Traffic stops. The pecalang (banjar guards) keep everyone in line, and photographers get in everyone’s way as they try for the perfect shot. Those not involved, sit on their stoops watching the show. Makeup? No one is spared! When the gods are concerned, more is more. Boys, girls, young men and mature women are all painted up like princesses! Of course after all the expense of a makeup session, selfies are mandatory, so before and after and during the rest stops, everyone is photographed to death. It is of course, a mark of prestige to be able to complain ‘oh I was photographed so many times! They just wouldn’t leave me alone!’ while retaining a demure demeanour. But it’s all good fun and I am sure the gods are as happy as the mortals to have so much respect shown to them!


The place? Sukawati. The Occaision? Odalan – the bi-annual birthday celebration for the Pura Desa – one of Sukawati’s main temples. It is a ceremony that every temple in Bali celebrates, with varying degrees of elegance and extravagance. The mapeed are made as a gesture of gratitude to the gods, but it a wonderful sight for us mere mortals as well.


Sukawati banjars are known for their extraordinary processions that can sometimes, for the really big ones, stretch for half a kilometer or so. Sukawati seems to have more lines of beautiful girls than anywhere else on the island and it is always fun to watch, along with other villagers, who are not involved in that particular ceremony.


The children lead, followed by gamelan and groups of married woman chanting ancient rhythms as perfumed smoke fills the air. The market was symbolic, at least to me – from the rubble and chaos arose the purified temple folk, transformed into celestial beings before their gods. Later, as the procession finished and people were returning home, those godlike and gilded folk took their place on their motorbikes and the dream, the illusion hovered somewhere closer to reality. Wonderful Bali.