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Birth and Childhood Ceremony

Written By love on Wednesday | 01:14

The first ceremony of Balinese life takes place when women reach the third month of pregnancy, with offerings to ensure the wellbeing of the baby. Twelve days later women are 'purified' through another ceremony. After 42 days, offerings are made for the baby's future.
The much-repeated Balinese names - which are gender neutral - carry a symbolic meaning, indicating social status and birth order. Low caste Balinese name their first child Wayan, Putu or Gede; the second is Made, Kadek or Nengah; the third is Nyoman or Komang; and the fourth is Ketut. The fifth, sixth, seventh and eight children re-use the same set. The large number of Balinese named Anak Agung, a name denoting the child of a royal concubine, attest to the fertility of the Balinese rajahs (princes).
A child goes through 13 celebrations, or manusa yadnya. At 105 days, the baby is welcomed to the family and its feet are allowed to touch the ground for the first time - ground is considered impure, so babies are held until then.
At 210 days (first Balinese year) the baby is spiritually blessed in the ancestral temple and there's a huge feast for the family and community.
A rite of passage to adulthood is the tooth-filing ceremony, when a priest symbolically files a teenager's (around 16 to 18 years) upper front teeth to produce a pleasing line. Crooked fangs are, after all, one of the chief distinguishing marks of evil spirits - just have a look at Rangda mask! No-one may marry unless their teeth have been filed.
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