Maintaining harmony with all living things and the universe is one of the core teachings of Hinduism in Bali. Love and appreciation are not only directed to fellow human beings, but also to animals and plants. As a form of appreciation towards animals, Bali has a special day of celebration known as Tumpek Kandang or Tumpek Uye.
Tumpek Kandang is essentially a day to worship the God of shepherds called Rare Angon. This animal-loving day is celebrated every six months, or once every 210 days to be exact. It is a form of gratitude and thanks to animals for being a help in human life. For example, cows and buffalos have an important role for farmers in helping to plow the fields. On this day, ceremonies and offerings are made and addressed to pets, live stocks, protected animals and wildlife – with the hope that they live well, healthy, happy, maintain their sustainability and provide positive benefits for humans.
To some people, bonding with their pets are so strong that they are considered family members. People have various way in expressing love and gratitude to their pets on this day. Some pets may receive special treatments like being washed and dressed up in Balinese traditional clothes that are especially designed to fit their shapes and various sizes. Male dogs may wear udeng on their head and the female dogs may have kebaya on, really depending on the personal preference of the pet’s owner. The dressed up and happy animals attend the prayers and are the center of the ceremonies. They get blessings, are sprinkled with holy water and rice, and will be fed special delicious food.
The deeper meaning of Tumpek Kandang is to remind people to keep in touch with nature and be grateful for the blessings that nature has provided, to treat our animal friends with kindness and respect.