Before tapping the toddy, the flower must first be ‘beaten’ (thalanawa) for three days. The flower is then cut allowing the sap to drain out. The toddy tapper has to climb the tree to tie a container (labu katey) in order to collect the sap. This is done in the evening, the container is left overnight and the contents are collected early next morning.
Strapped around a toddy tapper’s waist are the tools of his trade. The most important is the ‘labu katey’, a round container, which is used to collect the toddy. A small wooden box holds the implements. Most important among these are the ‘thalanaya’, a wooden stick resembling a rounded hammer with which the flower is beaten, and a knife, which is used to cut the coconut flower. The box holding the tools and the ‘labu katey’ are secured to the waist by a broad band tied around the sarong, thus leaving the tapper’s hands free to climb. Also hanging from the waist is a coil of rope. With this simple equipment he’s ready to start this daunting task 60 – 100 feet off the ground.