In the Balinese culture, a meaningful tradition known as “Tumpek Uduh” stands as a testament to the island’s deep connection with nature and its historical reverence for the environment. This tradition, which translates to “Plant Birthdays”, celebrates and offers insights into the importance of plants in Balinese life. 

In an era before the widespread use of plastics, Balinese relied extensively on plant materials for their daily needs. Leaves, vines and other organic resources were ingeniously employed for crafting, packaging and various household purposes.

The Shift from Organic to Plastic Waste

As globalisation hit Bali, the transition from organic waste to plastic waste in Bali showcased the changing times and the unfortunate shift toward convenience-driven lifestyles. In the past, organic waste returned naturally to the earth, playing a vital role in the cycle of life. However, the introduction of plastic materials disrupted this harmonious cycle, leading to environmental challenges such as pollution and waste management issues.

Organic mixed with plastic waste after a ceremony

A Reminder of Balinese Environmental Stewardship

Celebratory ceremonies such as Tumpek Uduh serve as reminders that the Balinese have long been custodians of their island’s natural beauty. These rituals underscore the importance of respecting plants, not merely exploiting them, but honouring them as vital beings with unique roles in our world. Additionally, by celebrating the birthdays of plants, the Balinese not only pay homage to their ancestral traditions but also embrace the responsibility of safeguarding our planet.

Building upon this profound understanding, there arises a crucial awareness of the significance of plant existence and their proper utilisation for the betterment of human life. Begawan is tirelessly dedicated to reintegrating these values and practices into the lives of the younger generation. Begawan Learning Center currently places its focus on the theme of “Growing in Bali,” closely tied to the existence and growth of plants on the island. This theme emphasises the importance of comprehending plant life cycles and their significance in human existence.

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