Not many people may hear much about the Fire War tradition in Bali, a distinctive cultural tradition named “Siat Geni” held by the locals of the Tuban village, Kuta.
Last Monday, September 28th 2015, around 100 young locals between Banjar Tuban Geria and Pesalakan in Tuban held the tradition, where they were seen throwing fire coals made from coconut fibres at each other. The tradition was part of Piodalan ceremony at Temple Dalem Khayangan Tuban.
The priest of the temple, Jero Mangku Gede Dalem Khayalan said that it is an annual ceremony, inherited and passed down from generation to generation, “This is how we celebrate it, it is an obligatied ritual in the tradition,” said the Jero Mangku.
Each year, the ceremony is held on the fourth full moon of the year for one hour long. It is a belief among Hindu Balinese people that during the ceremony, gods, goddess and maha patih (guards) go to earth together. One of the guards called Kala Geni Lundra has the power to cleanse the village’s dirtiness with fire, thus people in the village want to welcome the guard by holding the ritual. “The ritual is not addressed for God but is to amuse Patih Geni Ludra so he would come down and wash all contempt in Tuban village through his fire power,” Jero Mangku explained.
Following the fire ritual is the ceremony of Nedunang Ida Bhatara (calling Ida Bhatara). Many of the people are in a trance, which is believed to happen because the guards (patih) possessed them to “ngurek” or “ngunying” (stabbing creese to body).
Separately asked, Manik a local resident said it is the fourth year that he has attended the ritual. He enjoys it very much and is not afraid during the process, “No one was possessed, all participants were in fact feeling very excited to feel the fire’s heat.”