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Bali Hindu Tooth Filing Ceremony

Bali in Indonesia is noted for its unique Hindu ceremonies. In Balinese Hindu belief system, teeth are the symbol of lust, greed, anger, drunkenness, confusion and jealousy. The tooth filing ceremony is the symbolic removal of these six weaknesses known as Sad Ripu in Bali Hinduism.

The ceremony involves the leveling of the teeth and is conducted by priests and is a sort of coming-of-age ritual. The ritual is usually performed on teenagers and after the ritual the teenager is considered an adult. The ceremony is held annually during the months of July and August.

A small harmer, a file and a carver are the tools used in filing the teeth. These tools are dipped in holy water. The person undergoing the tooth filing ceremony should remain indoors the previous day. This is to avoid evil spirits taking possession of the person and thereby disturbing the ceremony. The ceremony is held early morning before sunrise.