Metatah : Balinese Coming of Age Tradition

DSC_6484 copyBalinese Hindu people couldn’t be separated from religious rituals. It has become their nature to do ceremonies, from the moment they were born to the time they passed away. In certain ages, Balinese people must undergo the procession of ‘Manusa Yadnya’ ceremony, and one of it is called ‘metatah’, or ‘mepandes’ if done by high-caste or royal family member.

DSC_6454As a part of grand ‘Manusa Yadnya’ ceremony, Metatah is a coming-of-age ritual with deep symbolical meaning. Basically, it is a tooth filing ceremonies where six upper teeth of a teenager are smoothen using a special tool by pedanda (holy priest). This ceremony is done more for the symbolical meaning rather than physical, so those who experience will not feel much pain. In fact, this joyous coming-of-age moment is often celebrated in high fashion, as the teenagers wear their best traditional outfit and the ritual is treated as a festive party.

DSC_6478Metatah symbolize the filing of six human natures which are considered as enemy of human being called ‘sad ripu’, consisting of greed, lust, anger, confusion, stupidity and jealousy. This important life-cycle event usually occurs when a Balinese boy or girl reaches puberty, and must be done before marriage. Metatah ceremony commonly incorporated in the marriage procession itself.