Tarantella and Waltz for Rach

Offerings for Rachela’s Otonan Day

The picture above is Balinese offerings for otonan celebration. Some of you are probably not familiar with this term. What is that? Otonan is a special Balinese birthday that is celebrated every 6 months of Balinese calendar. It is important to note that according to the Balinese calendar, one month is 35 days. Thus, this Balinese birthday is celebrated every 210 days of the Balinese calendar. The celebration here means praying to the God with particular designated offerings prepared earlier for the day.

Parkville, September 23, 2010
I drove my car nervously. Yet, I could still feel gutsy deep inside. In the back seat, my wife was having pain for her labour. Helped by our two kind housemates, Tina and Jenny, we went to the Royal Women’s hospital in the city at 3a.m in the morning. As we were well-prepared, everything could run smoothly. The next 8 hours, at 8:47a.m (GMT +10:00), our daughter Rachela was born. Kate, the midwife, congratulated us for having a healthy baby.

According to the Balinese calendar, she belongs to “Kamis Wage Watugunung” – a Balinese (also used in the Javanese calendar) way to base people’s life on 5, 7, and 30 cycles. This would determine particular ceremonies to come in the future; also to depict her prominent personality (would serve more or less like zodiac in the Western).

Postgrad Office, June 14, 2012
Today, 630 days (according to the Balinese calendar) afterwards, is her third otonan day. The third otonan is considered a very important ceremony for the Balinese. Preparation has been made to celebrate the day – praying. In my office, while doing research; I deliver two main prayers for the ceremony that I deliberately quote from the official Indonesian Hindu organization, Parisadha Hindu Dharma Indonesia (in Balinese//Indonesian//English format). A more information about this can be read here (in Indonesian).

Prayer #1
Ne cening magelang benang, apang ma uwat kawat ma balung besi//Ini kamu memakai gelang benang, supaya berotot kawat dan bertulang besi//Here, you wear a bracelet of thread so you may have strong bones (and heart).

This means, as thread is straight, the person is expected to always have true heart with good and acceptable conduct. As thread can also be limber but hard to be torn, it is expected that the person can be have flexible and/ or strong heart, depending on the necessary condition.

Prayer #2
Ne cening ngilehang sampan, ngilehang perahu, batu mokocok, tungked bungbungan, teked dipasisi napetang perahu ‘bencah’//Ini kamu memutar sampan, memutar perahu, batu makocok, tongkat bungbung, sampai di pantai menemui kapal terdampar//Here, you move around (the offerings that resemble) a ship (in high and low tides), a dice (used in gamble), and a paddle; so when you reach the sea shore, you may find a wrecked ship (full of valuables).

This means that the person may have high and low tides in a life journey; that life may have times frequently destined with either fortunes or bad lucks (like using a dice in a gamble); but he/she must keep paddling in rows, have strong hearts, that when he/she reaches the goal, you may find happiness (or fortunes).

P.S. The English translation is unofficial 🙂

Here is a short poem I wrote to celebrate the day.

The Journey to Your Heart Shall Begin

Otonan Procession: A Virtual Attendance^^

Dance when the sun’s on top
Dance when the moon’s shining bright
Dance when snow’s the thickest
Dance when gum tree’s burnt to ashes
Have Tarantella, have Waltz
And the journey to your heart shall begin


Happy otonan day, Rachela. May your heart be always true and strong. Best wishes 🙂

©mhsantosa (2012)
I am happy to share this. Please feel free to reblog or share the link, all with my accreditation. Thank you.

2 thoughts on “Tarantella and Waltz for Rach

  1. yessiesuniartie says:

    Bangsa kita sebenarnya kaya akan perbedaan budaya. Salah satu tante sy married dgn org Bali dan secara pribadi sy melihat tante tuh jd org yg setia dlm artian bgmn dia hampir 2hr sekali mempersiapkan sesaji ….. bisa dibilang tiap sudut Bali mengeluarkan wewangian yang khas. Happy otonan day.

    1. Made Hery Santosa says:

      Hi Mbak Yessie, thanks for the comment. Iya, benar. Banyak yang bilang, salah satu keunikan Bali ada di upacara dan kebiasaan ini. Setiap hari ada upacara ^^ Konsep ‘Yadnya’ (tulus ikhlas memuja Tuhan dan sekitarnya) menurut saya sangat penting (di Bali). Namun saya juga yakin, semua agama demikian. Makasi Mbak udah mampir. Saya tunggu tulisan-tulisan lainnya. Have a good rest ^^

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