Tooth Filing Ceremony: When Balinesse enter a new phase of life

Why is Bali consistently rated in the top couple of tourist destinations in the world? It’s due to much more than it’s beautiful beaches and tropical climate. Bali’s rich cultural and spiritual traditions are evident in every aspect of life. In fact, there’s probably no other place on earth that people practice as many ceremonies as the Balinese. This complex and ancient culture is unique to Bali. And while many other countries are seeing traditions fade away as young people stop practicing, younger people in Bali are still passionately protecting their traditions. This is truly one of Bali’s treasures.

The Balinese people have ceremonies for celebrating every stage of life, from birth until after they leave this earth. One important ceremony is the tooth filing ceremony, locally known as “Metatah” or “Mepandes.” This ritual marks the change of life phase from being a teenager to moving into adulthood.


This ceremony symbolizes the removal of the six negative traits that are inherent in humans:

The tooth filing ceremony starts with a purification ceremony called “Mebyakala,” followed by prayer to Surya (or the sun god) to be a witness of the ceremony. Then a Priest or “Pemangku” will symbolically file the young adult’s teeth. This is completed by a final purification and prayers of gratitude. Once the ceremony is complete, the teen is spiritually recognized as an adult, with all the responsibility that entails.

When you are next in Bali ask your Balinese friends or accommodation provider if they can help you to attend one of these Ceremonies as they are beautiful events, and a wonderful opportunity to experience Balinese culture close up.

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