Tooth Filing CeremonySeptember 2008
Our first day in Bali, on the advice of our innkeeper, we watched the early stages of an important coming-of-age ceremony at a nearby temple. The ceremony involves a ritual called matateh, or tooth filing, in which young adults have the tops of their teeth filed into a smooth row (removing the points on their canine teeth) to symbolize their separation from their animal nature. After the ritual, Balinese people are considered ready for marriage. The ceremony we saw was a large, festive community event, witnessed by relatives, friends, and local royalty.