THE LEGEND OF RICE

Rice was sent by God from the seventh sky.

The Balinese people believe that the rice was sent by the God Siwa who
lives in "or the Seventh Sky ( the highest place in the universe ) through
his heavenly bird" his heavenly bird " Sepati ".

Before rice existed on earth, the creatures of the earth only ate leaves
and wild fruits.
The bird was given four kinds of rice seeds white, red, black and yellow rice.
But on the way to earth " Sepati " the bird got very hungry and ate the
yellow rice grain to gain more strength, but he still kept the husk. When
the bird arrived on earth, his claw left across mark with its ends pointing
east, west, south and north. He was supposed to plant the seeds in such a
way that the white rice was planted in the east, the black one to the north,
the red one to the south and the yellow one to the west. AS he had eaten
the yellow rice, he planted the husk instead. After a while,
the plants grew and produce while, black and red rice. The husk of the
yellow rice grew into tumeric. The bird cut some of the root off and
planted the rest of it in the centre which later grew into another kind of
rice called "Ketan" ( glutinous rice ).
Only the white rice is used for everyday meals.

The other four kinds of rice are mainly used in the offerings. The Balinese
use turmeric to give the white rice yellow color as sometimes the offering
requires yellow rice.

The Balinese people also believe that the rice is the materialization of
Dewi Sri.
The rice harvested near where the irrigation water enters the field is
selected into a bunch and decorated to represent Dewi Sri. This bunch of
rice called " Dewa" or " Nini", is placed carefully on special platform in the
granary. Offerings are made during the " Mantenin " ( an after harvest
ceremony ). Usually the use for " Dewa " or " Nini " is the local Balinese
rice because the grains don't come off easily from the ears.

During the harvest time, one can see a procession of men carrying sticks
with bundles of rice on each end women carrying big bamboo trays full of
rice on their heads. A beautiful sight which is so typical of Bali.

RICE GROWING OF BALI
Given a mild tropical climate in Bali harvesting is possible two times from
September to march. There are various kinds of rice, red and black,
glutinous rice etc.
Balinese people make it a point to hold ceremony for the goddess of rice
before rice planting. An alter of the paddy is decorated well, the people pray
for a good crop. They think, the rice is the child of God and Goddess who
live in the heaven.
This way of thinking, actually, is to distinguish between masculine and
feminine work for rice growing. The soil work belong to women while the
seeding and watering belong to men job. The process of rice planting until
the crop is associated with the process of pregnancy until the childbirth.
The female which is known as the goddess of the rice chant is prayed for
the safety at the childbirth


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