Peeping the Sacredness of Setra Ari-Ari in Kintamani Bali


The placenta must be brought to cemetery in the early morning or when the sun sets. It is forbidden for the society to hang the placenta when the sun is still shining.

BANGLI, NusaBali
Tradition and tourism are like a pair of sandals that are difficult to separate from the island of God, Bali. By hearing its name, our mind was immediately imagine the splash of the waves on the shoreline to the beautiful rural atmosphere complete with the friendly people. However, who would have thought, behind all the beauty was hidden a variety of unique habits that made people wonder and unfortunately rarely known to the public.

Just like in Bayunggede village, Kintamani, Bangli, there was a unique habit by the society that was very interesting to be explored, namely the tradition of hanging the placenta at Setra Ari-Ari (placenta cemetery). Nusabali had summarized 6 important things you must know about Setra Ari-Ati in Bayunggede Village.

1. The Tradition was since Thousand Years ago

Nobody knows exactly when the tradition of hanging the baby’s placenta began. It was said that, this tradition had existed for thousands years. Bayunggede society believed that this tradition had something to do with the origin formation of Bayunggede Village. It was said that the first man in Bayunggede was born from Tued (the wood that had been cut and the base left) which was then revived by Tirta Kamandalu by the white monkey who was the son of Bhatara Bayu. Hanging placenta on the tree was also a manifestation of the Catur Sanak ideology that was believed to have to be returned to their origin: wood.

It was the story that was increasingly widely spread from mouth to mouth. Although there was no written source that explained in detail about the history, but the society still run the tradition of hanging the baby’s placenta hereditary until now. However, if proven to be violated, the family must pay 200 pieces of uang kepeng (Balinese traditional coin) and carry out mesayut ceremony to purify their yard.

2. The Newborn Baby’s Placenta must be Brought to Cemetery

The requirement of hanging the placenta was not without reason. According to Gede Seriman, the society leader in Bayunggede Village, the placenta of a newborn if planted in the yard of the house would cause dirty (in Balinese mythology) and was full of bad influences that would affect the yard and family.

The process of hanging the placenta was also quite complicated. First, the placenta must be washed as clean as possible using clean fresh water. Then, prepared a coconut shell that had been cut into two parts and cleaned from water and coconut fibers as a container of placenta. At the top of the shell, Ongkara (Hindu script) was written.

Not enough, people also often included various objects into the placenta. Some included rips of mats, pencils, torn paper, roses, pepper / cilantro, lime betel, turmeric, lime, and eggplant / eggplant thorns. The function was, so that the baby remained fragrant, warm, awake, and grow into an intelligent person in the future.

Finally, the coconut shell would be closed using the remainder of the pruning, and then tied with a bamboo rope with salang tabu knot. Do not forget to apply lime betel to the segments of the coconut shell so that the two halves of the shell remain firmly attached to one another.

The placenta would be hung on a tree branch called Bukak Tree. Even though it was still relatively leteh (dirty), families who had just hung the placenta must mark their houses with fern leave so that the society knew that there was a newborn baby in the house and abstinence was visited by saints and village leaders. After one month and seven days, a simple cleansing ceremony was held in the yard of the house and the activity returned to normal.

3. The One who Hang the Placenta must a Man

The tradition of hanging the placenta was increasingly unique with various rules that limited the society who having a newborn baby, one of them was, the one who carrying the placenta to the cemetery must a man. If the baby’s father was absent, then he must be replaced by another family member and must be a man.

They also had to use traditional costume and equip themselves with sickles. Reputedly, ancient times, the cemetery was a vast forest; there could be wild animals appeared. So, the men who had to leave, and the sickle also functioned as weapon in addition to slash the bushes and twigs of the Bukak Tree to hang the placenta.

Departing from home, the hand that holding the shell must be left hand. Arriving at the cemetery, the right hand holding the sickle was used to slash the branches of the Bukak Tree, and then when it was ready to be hung, the right hand was used to hang it.

4. The Prohibition when Bringing Placenta to Setra Ari-Ari

If you wanted the baby to grow normally without interruption, then some of these prohibitions should not be violated by the parents of babies who wanted to hang their babies’ placenta. First, the placenta must be brought to the cemetery when it was dawn or when it was evening. Very abstinence if the parent hung the placenta when the sun was still shining.

Second, it was abstain for interacting with anyone when they wanted to bring placenta to the cemetery. Don't talk, look around, and laughing too. This believed to be able to make the baby's growth become bad and later grow into a person who did not focus on goals and other bad things.

Third, it was abstinence for cutting down trees in the graveyard for personal gain. As a punishment, those who cut down must receive customary sanctions and must plant trees of the same type in the cemetery area. This was done because it was believed that the trees in the area were quite sacred and had to be guarded.

5. Firewood for Baby Boys, Vegetables for Baby Girls

There was something more that should not to be missed when the parent wanted to go home after hanging the placenta, which was to bring the gifts. Fathers were obliged to bring firewood collected in the cemetery area if the baby was male, and vice versa, if the baby was female, the father was obliged to bring plants (such as fern) that could be used as vegetables to take home. Arriving at home, the father must convey what was brought to the baby.

These items were believed to be a symbol of strength and intelligence in processing life by the baby in the future.

6. Secret in order the Placenta not to Smell Fishy

The tree used to hang the placenta was not just any tree, but a tree whose properties were similar to the Taru Menyan Tree in Terunyan Village, Kintamani. Hanging on the Bukak Tree, the placenta did not produce the fishy smell. Named the Bukak Tree because,when its fruit ripped, the fruit would open and split into two parts.

The Bukak tree also symbolized the female vitality which was believed to be the baby's mother who would nurture it magically. From this symbolization, the Bukak Tree was interpreted as a human who would take care of the baby's siblings (placenta) from various kinds of magical disorders.

Those are the 6 things that will certainly add to your insight about the tradition of hanging placenta in Bayunggede Village. If you are still curious, this location can be visited by distance of 30 kilometers from Denpasar City, about 1.5 hours drive through Payangan Village, Gianyar. This location is also quite close to Penelokan Kintamani. * ph