Megibung Bali, Equality before The Banquet

The tradition of eating together are common among the ethnic groups in Indonesia, such as Makan Bejamba, Makan Babarit, Makan Seruit, Beseprah, or Binarundak. Balinese people also has a tradition of eating together called Megibung. Megibung usually held during certain religious or cultural ceremonies, at specific location. These tradition mostly held on Karangasem area.


The Origins and Procession

There are no clear written sources stated about the origin of Megibung. However many people believe that this tradition introduced by King of Karangasem, I Gusti Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem around 1614 Caka or 1692 AD.

At that time, Karangasem Kingdom was on expedition to conquer the kings in Lombok Island. During the rest of the battle, the king urged all soldiers to eat together in a circular position later known by the name of Megibung. In fact, the king himself is said to come eat with the soldiers.


Megibung typically held when someone performs a ritual such as Dewa Yadnya, Manusa Yadnya, Pitra Yadnya, Buta Yadnya and Rsi Yadnya. As the time goes, Megibung does not only held at the religious rituals but also in the event such as gratitude, the closing and welcoming of the year, meetings which attended by more than 100 people, the appointment of the Head of Village, and so on and so forth.


Megibung start by cooking together traditional Balinese cuisine by the citizens. Once completed, residents prepare it to be eaten together. White rice is placed in a container (Gibungan), while the side dishes and vegetables that will be eaten (Karangan) placed at different plates.


Those who participated in Megibung must follow the table manner of Megibung.

  • Before you eat, the rice is taken by hand. Followed by taking meat and other side dishes on a regular basis.
  • Eat neatly, do not spill the food. Leftover must be disposed of on a small patch of banana leaf that has been provided to each person.
  • Water to drink is provided in a jug out of clay. For one between the two line. Drinking water is done by nyeret, gulped water from a jug so that the tip of the lips are not touching the pitcher. For practicality, nowadays are replaced with bottled mineral water.
  • Do not talking and laughing loudly, screaming, belching, wheezing, phlegm, spit and fart.
  • When finished, one should not carelessly leave the event. Had to wait another person finish eating.

Megibung tradition laden with shared values. In Megibung, there is no differences in gender nor caste. Together, the resident enjoying the meal as a blessing from Hyang Widhi. These common values have been established since the time I Gusti Anglurah Ktut Karangasem, and continues today. Megibung tradition is not only done by Hindus. The Muslim community in Karangasem also commonly hold this tradition. The side dishes do not use pork. Megibung in the Muslim community is usually associated with weddings, circumcisions, Eid al Fitr, Maulud Nabi and other Islamic events. (original article here)

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