Ngayah tradition is traditional volunteerism in Balinese daily life. Usually, Balinese will gather around in Banjar and doing some voluntary job, mostly for preparing the religious ceremonies or some events in the neighborhood. Well in this tradition, Balinese are not just to help each other, but they also sharing and socializing as the religious order.
Nowadays, more than half the Balinese population above 15 years old is studying or already working. It means they spend a lot of their time in school or at work, they don’t have much time anymore. This condition doesn’t see support the Ngayah tradition, because Ngayah tradition is usually held any time without knowing it is working day or not. Do they still have time to continue this tradition?
Ngayah is a tradition inherited from ancestors. A long-ago most Balinese works as farmers, so it easier to set the time to Ngayah. For example, the Ngaben ceremony took more than 1 day, maybe even a week. There was very easy to follow before, but what about now?
There is no legal sanction for not following this tradition, but Balinese has their social sanction, such the villagers will talk about you, and you will be gossiped by them.
Ngayah is done without expecting material rewards. But when we have some event later, people in Banjar will also sincerely come to help.
Another positive side of Ngayah is that people can get to know one another. For example, a woman who enters the village because she is married to a man certainly does not know anyone, so this is a time to socialize with the local people so they can get to know each other.
The Balinese, their selves wondering, do they could continuing this tradition, because most of them not a farmer anymore. Actually, this good tradition must always be maintained. Only, in practice better change time and don’t take time longer like it used to be. For example, Ngayah before the Ngaben ceremony which is held in a period of one week may be shortened to two days, so it does not spend too much time, so it will make a balance between personal and social life.
Just imagine if this Ngayah was abandoned, then the harmony living between people in the Banjar would not be established again, maybe even the same as in the city that did not know the neighbors. Back to each individual. We should not forget it.
Except if the conditions are indeed not possible such as living outside distant areas so it is not possible to return home at any time. We must believe that the tradition which has been carried out for a long time by this ancestor is well-intentioned and must be preserved. As a good Balinese manner, if we don’t preserve Balinese culture, including this Ngayah tradition, then who will?