The Soma Ribek celebration is a Balinese rice day

Photo:Simon Bardet / Pixabay
Two days after the Saraswati holiday, Balinese people celebrate Soma Ribek. In 2021, Soma Ribek fell on August 30th. On this day, Hindu believers express gratitude to God for abundant food, especially rice.
It is prohibited for Balinese people to process or sell rice on this day. This prohibition is outlined in one of the manuscript guides of spiritual life called "lontar" Sundarigama.
On the day of Soma Ribek, Balinese people halt their agricultural activities in the fields and dedicate themselves to ceremonies. They celebrate the manifestation of the supreme god Sang Hyang Sri Amerta, who bestows prosperity. Goddess of rice, Dewi Sri, is also revered on this day.
Collecting fruits is also forbidden on Soma Ribek. Taking a nap during the day is not allowed. According to one version, it is believed that the god Sang Hyang Parameswara Guru practices yoga at noon and Hindus are obliged to respect this.
Balinese people believe that breaking these prohibitions could lead to humanity being cursed by the gods and facing food-related issues.
Interestingly, similar restrictions exist on other days when a specific aspect of human life is celebrated, but participation in that aspect is prohibited on that day.
On the day of knowledge and wisdom, Saraswati, reading and writing are not allowed. On the day of wealth, Buda Wage Kelawu, monetary transactions are prohibited.
Lecturer at the Hinduism Institute in Denpasar, I Made Wiradnyana, believes that such taboos and prohibitions accompanying celebrations help believers focus on the significance of the holidays.
Regarding the idea of gods cursing for violating the rules of Soma Ribek's taboos, Wiradnyana views it as a form of self-control that helps individuals remember how important it is to take care of sources of prosperity in life.
After all, neglecting rice fields and agriculture could disrupt society's food security.
On the day of Soma Ribek, ceremonies are usually held in the barn where rice is stored and in the rice storeroom in the kitchen. Generous offerings are made to the gods in these places, and prayers are recited.
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