One more unique tradition owned by Karangasem County is the mesantalan ritual procession or Ketupat War at Apit Yeh village, Manggis subdistrict became an interesting cultural attraction. This tradition was held to coincide with Kajeng Kliwon in the eleven month of Balinese calendar recently. Before organizing the mesantalan, there are some ceremonies to be passed through. Among others, there was village purification through pecaruan (animal sacrifice) ritual at the village. The animal in use was male calf. Before that, the calf was by paraded around the village while being beaten by means of bamboo.
After holding the animal sacrifice ritual (pecaruan), people then scrambled to get lis or sampyan used in the sacrifice. Local people believe that pinude using the lis could make a cow survive and have many children. However, it was preceded with worship en masse in the Taman and Puseh Temple. Afterward, the male villagers were ready to bring six pieces of rice bag (ketupat). Then, it was resumed by throwing them to one another at particular distance separated by two bamboo sticks. Within about 30 minutes, they attempted to take action and target their opponents.
The Mesantalan tradition was followed by all residents of Apit Yeh customary village divided into 4 customary hamlets with a total population of 100 families. By holding the sacred ceremony, local people believed to bring in a blessing of natural fertility. Such cultural attraction also symbolized masculinity where men had knighthood spirit. Chief of customary village, I Nengah Sarjana, said the origin of mesantalan cultural attraction was clearly unknown. However, they did it for generations. They were aware and believed if the tradition should be kept alive and believed to be able to realize safety for residents. “If it is not organized, then the life of residents will not be peaceful and their harvest will fail,” he said.
Residents also believed if they were hit by the rice bag, their life would be prosperous. Thus, people competed to be exposed by the rice bag. “Despite being in the front, they are not necessarily hit by the rice bag. Conversely, the villagers in the rear can be affected,” he said. Deputy Regent of Karangasem, I Made Sukerana, was present at the ceremony and asked the residents of Apit Yeh customary village to maintain and protect the sacred and unique cultural asset. Aside from keeping the peace of village and improving natural fertility for the welfare of residents, the ritual was also intended to preserve the tradition. (BTN/015)