'Gebogan', Between Oblation and Grandiosity PDF Print E-mail

Active ImageWhen Tanah Lot temple anniversay conducted, we have seen the offerings which bring by balinese woman to the temple and also called the oblation. Oblation is a characteristic manifestation of offerings by the Balinese to their God. This offering is performed within a special festivity called piodalan (temple festival) at either sacred places like temple, family shrine or at beach sides.

Amongst the many kinds of oblation for presentation, gebogan is one of them that look so prominent on account of its larger shape than other ordinary oblations. The size of the gebogan depends on the scale of festivity and where it is held. In the smaller scale ritual at family shrines, the gebogan is made in smaller size on a wooden base called dulang, while in the rituals held at temples (public sanctum) the gebogan made is bigger and more grandiose.

The haves will make a gebogan of which height may reach one meter or even more. However, for the have-nots it is usually made of some 30-50 cm high. Its ingredients may consist of assorted fruits and Balinese cakes that are arranged in such a way that makes it look attractive and appealing. It is topped with canang (simple oblation) and artistic ornaments made from young coconut leaves. The procession of balancing such gebogan for the Balinese girls is a special task since at the occasion the can show off their beauty and fashion in front of the public. For that purpose before joining the procession, they should prepare their mental condition and make themselves as beautiful as possible, even some hours in advance they will go to the beauty salon to make them look more confidently.

How they behave and show their swaying movement on balancing the gebogan in such religious parade procession is the pure reflection of the sincerity of woman’s heart, Balinese Hindu devotees in revering the greatness of Sang Hyang Widhi (Almighty God) who has bestowed them prosperity. It is said that on balancing the gebogan the Balinese girls spread out their inner beauty. Literary texts illustrate the existence of Balinese women as a blooming flower at courtyard (house’s belle) and flower breezing fragrant scent and freshness. Gebogan poses as a symbol of sincerity in presenting the harvest proceeds to God on the prosperity blessing bestowed to humankind. Formerly, gebogan completely used assorted local fruits. However, in the globalization era as today affecting the life of the Balinese, many imported fruits overwhelm the traditional markets and supermarkets and are widely used to fill in the gebogan. Those imported fruits filling the today’s gebogan comprise the New Zealand crispy apple, American Sunkist, Mandarin orange, European grape and many more.

Similarly, the Balinese cakes used for the gebogan were formerly made from Balinese rice flour but today it has been replaced with imported wheat flour, cheese or margarine. In terms of global socio-economic, the Balinese culture of making gebogan oblation by using various local and imported fruits as well as other ritual ingredients can become a generating wheel of the world’s economy and improve the international friendship.

Even though a large number of gebogan’s ingredients are imported, in terms of religiosity of the Balinese, it does not diminish the significance and function of such gebogan as whole-hearted offering and implementation of gratitude to God. The Vedic scriptures affirm that sincerity constitutes the major requisite within the execution of a ritual and presentation," Whoever in sincerity presents leaves, flowers, fruits or water to Me, under laid by love and pure mind, I will be glad to receive them.