The word megibung is from the Balinese dialect meaning people eating communally. It is traditional custom of the Karangasem regency and normally occurs when there is a lot of work to be done in the village like a temple ceremony or social work. The megibung usually involves hundreds of people.
The participants of megibung are divided into groups; each group consists of eight people of same gender, sitting cross-legged in circle on a mat or banana leaves and enjoying the delicious food. The participants eat with their right hand no spoon or fork is used. The food eaten in megibung is arranged into sets of food called gibungan.
The gibungan is set of foods comprise of various food that can be scooped easily with the hand, such as pesan (spicy fish wrapped in banana leaves), be guling (suckling pig), siap / bebek betutu (roast chicken or duck), spicy vegetables such as jukut ares (soup made from a banana tree trunk), jukut urab (strong smelling salad served warm) or lawar (grated coconut, condiments, meat and sometimes raw blood) and nasi putih / nasi kuning (white or yellow rice).
Brem (balinese rice wine) or tuak (palm toddy) is always the favorite drink during megibung. The gibungan (food) is placed on a mat or banana leaves, no table is used in the megibung. The megibung is highly organized style of eating. There is a leader, called tukang tarek, which controls the process of the megibung.
The process of megibung can be described as follow: first the gibungans (sets of food) are placed in a row, there are dozen of gibungan for a small size of megibung. Then the tukang tarek (the leader of megibung) announces that the megibung is about to begin. The participants are divided into groups of eight people, each group sits cross-legged around a certain gibungan.
It is usual that a person is in the same group with a stranger or two. This may produces the uneasy feeling, since someone have to share the food with a stranger. However, in this situation the megibung achieve its basic purpose as a communal feast. Then the tukang tarek gives a signal to the participants to wash their hand. After washing their hands, the participants wait for the signal to start eating.
The tukang tarek ensures that all the participants have washed their hand after that he gives the signal to begin the feast. A special attendant, called pengancang serves each group of the participants. After the participant finish eating, they wait for a signal from tukang tarek to wash their hands.
The tukang tarek ensures that all participants have finished eating, then he gives the signal to the participants to wash their hand then they free to go, the megibung comes to and end. For those who want to feel the joy of megibung, there is a great megibung, which is held in Taman Ujung, Karangasem.
This is a colossal megibung, the biggest megibung ever held, more than 20, 000 people have registered to join this traditional feast. An event that cannot be missed.