Bali Unique Tradition-Kissing Festival: Omed-omedan


Following Nyepi — a day of silence for Balinese Hindus marking the Saka New Year — Banjar Kaja in Sesetan, Denpasar, holds Omed-Omedan, a kissing festival for local teenagers that is believed to ward off bad luck in the year ahead.

The story goes that the festival began “a long time ago,” but nobody quite knows when. A group of bored teenagers were hanging around, playing games outside on Nyepi near the house of an elderly village leader who was sick. When the leader stepped outside to scold the laughing teenagers, he instantly felt better.

The festival has been held ever since. In the 1970s, it was moved to the day after Nyepi to respect the silence edict. There was only one year that the festival did not push through and locals say that on that day, the head of the community found two pigs fighting outside the main temple. Continue reading


Baris Dance

Baris Tunggal

The Baris, a traditional war dance, glorifies the manhood of the triumphant Balinese warrior. The word baris means ‘line’ or ‘file’ and refers to the warriors who fought for the kings of Bali. There are numerous kinds of Baris, distinguished by the arms borne by the dancers.

Originally, the dance was a religious ritual: the dedication of warriors and their weapons during a temple feast. From the ritualistic Baris Gede grew the dramatic Baris, a story prefaced by a series of exhibition solo dances that show prowess in battle. It is from these that the present Baris solo takes its form. A good Baris dancer must undergo rigorous training to obtain the skill and flexibility that typifies the chivalrous elegance of the dance.

Derived from the word baris which means a line of troops, the Baris Dance is a war dance depicting warriors preparing to confront the enemy. The powerful rhythm of the accompanying Gong Kebyar and Gong Gede, intensifies the movements. The dancers come out on stage holding spears or swords and shields, depending on the type of Baris Dance; their firm steps making a convincingly loud sound. They really look like warriors going to the war, while in fact the dance is also performed to welcome The Gods and Ancestors to earth.

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Bali Marriage

My Parents Wedding

A couple’s marriage will not be acknowledged in the society if it is carried out without a traditional sacred ceremony according to the Hindu religious beliefs. In addition, the couple will be excommunicated from their village.

There are three kinds of marriage styles in Bali: “Ngerorod” (elopement), “Memadik” (more respected) and “Nyentana” (where a man moves permanently into his wife’s home).

“Ngerorod” is the most common of these is eloping, whereby the man and woman arrange to meet somewhere out of sight of the girl’s parents and spend the night together at a friend’s house. Sufficient publicity is ensured so that people find out what is going on. Under these circumstances the girl is not allowed to return to her parents and resume life as before, but in most cases the girl’s parents are not in the least surprised. However, they make a great show of pretending to be outraged at the impudence of the boy and his family for plotting the downfall of their daughter.

“Memadik” is a marriage form in Bali in which the boy’s parents and other family members come to the house of the girl’s parents and respectfully ask for their daughter. This is a costly process as large ceremonies and offerings are involved, but needless to say accords significantly more respect from the girls parents as compared to the clandestine night-time elopement. Form the man’s point of view, however, it’s more risky as the parents of his bride-to be must give their approval.

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Tenganan Pegringsingan

Tenganan Village

Tenganan is one of several ancient villages in Bali, which is usually called “Bali Aga”. There are some versions of story telling us the history of Tenganan village. Some say that the word Tenganan was derived from the word “tengah” or “ngatengahang” which means “move to the inner area”.

This derivation of word was having a relation with the movement of the villagers from the seaside to a rural area, in which the position of this village is in the middle of hills, that are western hill (Bukit Kauh) and eastern hill (Bukit Kangin).

Another version reveals that the people of Tenganan came from Peneges village, located in Gianyar, precisely near Bedahulu. Based on the folklore, once upon a time Bedahulu King lost one of his horses.

Balinese Girl wearing Ikat Clothes

The people looked for it to the east and the horse was finally found dead by Ki Patih Tunjung Biru, the King’s right hand. For his loyalty, the King finally gave Ki Patih Tunjung Biru an authority to govern the land as far as the aroma of the carrion of the horse can be smelled.

Ki Patih was an intelligent person, so he cut the carrion into pieces and spread it as far as he could. Thus he received a quite large area.

Tenganan is charming and has some very fascinating authentic traditional festival (ritual dances and gladiator) like Bali Aga of Tenganan often holds the battle between local youths.

The people of Tenganan are skilled in the unique technique of weaving, called the ‘double ikat’, where the belief in the magical power of the fabric is essential in bringing out the beauty of the ikat cloth.

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Drama Gong

Drama Gong is still the most popular theatrical performance in Bali. For the last four decades, it enjoys a great popularity all over the island.

Since early days of its development, Drama Gong has attracted enormous number of audience because of its simplicity in language and story and of the generous sprinkle of jokes and humors.

In the 1960s, a famous dancer and actor, Anak Agung Raka Payadnya from the village of Abianbase, Gianyar, initiated a new form of theatrical performance created by blending several pre-existing theatrical performances such as sendratari, modern theater, and arja accompanied by the gong kebyar orchestra with its dynamic and energetic rhythm. This new form of theatrical performance was named Drama Gong by the Director Kokar (Karawitan Konservatorium), I Gusti Bagus Nyoman Panji.

Unlike classical Balinese theatrical performance which uses unpopular Kawi language – that is unintelligible to most of the people – as a main medium of communication. Drama Gong uses popular everyday Balinese language so all classes of audience can easily comprehends the story.

The stories of Drama Gong are mainly taken from Panji stories. These stories tell about the trials and tribulation of a prince or princess that take place in several ancient Javanese kingdoms such as Koripan, Daha, and Singosari.

The Drama Gong plays are rarely equipped with written scripts; spontaneity and improvisation are the most important part in a play. Only the actor’s entrances, and exits; and the basic direction of the dialogue is regulated.

The Drama Gong actors are dressed in casual, modern Balinese costumes, unlike the classical costume of wayang wong, mask and arja performance. The Drama Gong costumes are varied based on the sex and social status of the character. Woman wears a sarong, a traditional blouse and a sash.

Princes wears gold and fresh flower on her hair. Man wears a sarong, a headdress and a kris. King or prince wears a golden sarong, golden headdress and a golden kris. Clown wears black sarong, a checkered sash and a batik headdress.

The Drama Gong is pure entertainment. Runs for around 5 to 6 hours, the Drama Gong’s dialogue is made up mainly of jokes in both high and low Balinese. The Drama Gong also contains religious and philosophical teachings, in which the never-ending struggle of virtue against evil presented. The Drama Gong also encourages critical thought, as the jokes mainly on the recent social and political issues, human flaws.

The Drama Gong enjoyed its golden era in 1960s up to 1980s, when hundreds of village hall were constructed from the profit of ticket selling of the extremely popular Drama Gong performance. Although in recent years, Drama Gong has waned somewhat in popularity. But it still attracts large number of audiences, particularly performances staged by the more famous troupe.

Ayam Be Tutu

ayam betutu

One of Balinese culinary heritage is Ayam Be Tutu. This meal is so popular even for non-Balinese. And Gilimanuk in Jembrana regency, is the ‘nest’ of this yummy food.

Gilimanuk is like a door of Bali since it is a harbor area where the ship brings many people come in and out Bali. No wonder, along the way to the harbor there are so many warung (food booth) which sell various food. Yet, most of the warungs in this district sell Ayam Be Tutu.

A couple years ago, a famous warung selling Ayam Be Tutu was never lack of customer. Every single day Men (Mrs.) Tempeh’s warung served hundreds orders. Unfortunately, at about two years ago Men Tempeh passed away and her warung was closed.

Standing on Mutiara Street at Gilimanuk area, Bu Lina’s warung serves two kind of Ayam Be Tutu: boiled and fried. It takes a minute longer for the fried Ayam Be tutu to be served. But, the time you have spent for this fried Ayam Be Tutu is not fruitless since you will get a fantastic dish: a fried chicken with crunchy layer on the surface but moist inside. The flavor is perfectly delicious with a complement of Plecing (a Balinese cooking made from swamp cabbage mix with hot sauce) and two kinds of hot sauces in different plate. The boiled Ayam Be Tutu also has the same complement but the chicken itself is served with little bit broth.

Hmm so Yummy..

Bebek Bengil (Dirty Duck Dinner)

If you’re traveling to Bali, it is wonderful for you to visit Ubud. Besides the beautiful scenery you will find a Restaurant distinctive and unique original unique Ubud: Bebek Bengil.

Bebek Bengil (Dirty duck) is a restaurant in Ubud, very well-known for its crispy fried duck served with Indonesian vegetables and delicate sambal .

Tasty and mouth-watering! This actually came from a secret family recipe, but they eventually shared it… the mystery behind the crispiness is that the ducks are marinated for 36 long hours in Indonesian herbs and spices. After that, they are steamed and deep-fried to get the crispy touch, then voila! The famous Bebek Bengil crispy duck is born…

If you are not a great fan of ducks, you can also try the chicken version which is the Bebek Bengil fried chicken served with yellow rice. Other dishes include stuffed chicken with shiitake, sprouts, and spinach, barbeque pork ribs, and bebek betutu (smoked duck stuffed with Balinese spices wrapped in banana leaf). Do note that for the bebek betutu , you have to order a day in advance!

Sitting lesehan (raised floor seating) in one of the gazebos, surrounded by rice fields and a marvelous garden, will indeed elevate your appetite. If you want to go for the modern experience with music, bar and lounge, head down instead to the one at Jl. Monkey Forest , Ubud.

Why Dirty Duck? The owner said it was named after their first guests, which was a flock of ducks from the surrounding rice fields that flew into the restaurant and made a real mess with their muddy footprints. Very fascinating! The ‘ducks’, after 13 years of establishment in Bali, opened its franchise in Hong Kong in 2003.
Bebek Bengil (Dirty Duck)
Padang Tegal road, Ubud 80571, Gianyar, Bali
Tel: +62 361 – 975 489 / 977675