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Painted Men and Boys

Young Men from Tegallalang, Bali Paint their Bodies to Ward Off Both Personal and Public Demons in Ngerebeg Procession

Bali News: Bali, Tegalalang, Ngerebeg, painted boys
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The traditional village of Tegallalang, located to the north of Ubud, has staged its annual ritual Ngerebeg procession in order to rid the community of and evil and unkind spirits.

This year’s Ngerebeg parade was held on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, and, as in years past, involved hundreds of young village boys and young men living in 5 surrounding Banjars. 
In an Island filled on an almost daily basis with rituals and ceremonies, the Ngerebeg ceremony stands out because of the participation of half-naked young men who parade the streets painted from head to toe in Technicolor, carrying religious ornaments and symbols in an efforts to ward off evils spirits, local demons, and personal failings.
The young men come from 5 Banjars that surround Pura Buur Bingin: Banjar Penusuan, Banjar Tegal, Banjar Tengah, Banjar Tegallalang, and Banjar Triwangsa.
The brightly painted young men participate in a 6-kilometer long parade that begins and ends at Pura Buur Bingin. In the morning, the hundred of young men participate in a purification ceremony before enjoying a hearty Balinese breakfast in the Temples courtyard followed by prayers and offerings to the Gods.
Beginning at approximately 12:30 pm, the six-kilometer processing gets underway stopping at village temples and cemeteries were offerings are laid along the way before returning to its starting point, where, at 3:00 pm, Pujawali prayers are offered by the village.
The Ngerebeg Ceremony is held once each year on the Balinese calendar of 210 days.
The Ngerebeg ceremony has been held as long as anyone can remember in Tegalalang and is closely linked with a number of local traditions. By dressing in eccentric ways and painting their bodies with bright colors, the participants seek to oust evil spirits, protect the village from bad omens, and oust bad characteristics from the “inner-man.”
The six distasteful human tendencies that the Ngerebeg seeks to exorcise are:
  • Kama: uncontrolled human lust exemplified by the image of a pregnant woman.
  • Loba: greed and the desire to own things we do not posses.
  • Kroda: anger expressed by a bruised and beaten face of a person who engages in brawling and fights.
  • Moha: personal confusion exemplified as a person who commits suicide.
  • Mada: drunkenness and insobriety exemplified by the face of a drunk and narcotics abuser.
  • Marasaraya: jealousy symbolised by a criminal dressed in a suit and tie.
The village chief of Tegallalang, Made Jaya Kusuma, as reported by NusaBali, explained that the people of the community have a strong belief that hundred of spirits inhabit their community. The Ngerebeg ceremony is meant to keep these spirits, capable of assuming a variety of forms, at bay. There are local stories of people in the past trying to disrupt the parade only to suffer a major mishaps a short time later.
The same mischievous beings are believed to live near the river, prompting the local belief and practice that vehicle passing over the Tegallalang bridge must must sound their horn to ensure the “local spirits” scatter and get off the road. Stories abound of people who have accidents near the bridge after forgetting to sound their horn.
For wonderful pictures from a past Ngerebeg Ceremony (2013) visit this excellent link from the Windsor Star

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