For those of us who have already turned 18 fun times indeed for the lucky ones, and for those who are soon to become “of legal age” pretty exciting stuff hey. If your a lucky one you may end up with a new car, big party or at least you will be able to go and party on with your friends.
With the very very old custom of the Hindu when a person turns 18 he or she is also to be considered well on the way to adulthood. To help make this smooth transition from adolecent into the first phase of growing up, the young will have to take part in a teeth filing ceremony (potong gigi). It won’t always take place on the 18th birthday, but sometime between the 18th-20th birthday is the usual. Using the Balinese Hindu calander to determine the “best day” for the occasion.
The preparation and money that go into these ceremonies is huge ! But it also depends on the parents wealth a big deal, the more financial the grander the ceremony, as it really is a special day for all concerned. The parents and friends spend weeks organising and decorating in preparation for the day. When the time comes for the priests to perform the teeth cutting, you can see the worry on the participants face. Firstly the priests will go through their rituals and “bless” the offerings and participants. This may go over two days then the teeth cutting is started, a small amount of clove is rubbed inside the mouth and then the priest inserts a small fine cut file and takes a very fine cut from selected areas of the teeth (As you can see in the photo’s). No one screams or cry, and I’m sure all are very proud to have participated. Their are many facinating and interesting aspects of the Balinese culture and all are usually entwined with the ancient Hindu religon. I hope you have enjoyed this little taste of it.