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Home » Religion

Melancaran: An Exorcism Trip  

by on Monday, 20 August 2007No Comment | 2,058 views

Balinese believe that during the third and fourth month of Balinese Çaka calendar (around September and October in Gregorian calendar), Ratu Gede Nusa also known as Ratu Gede Mas Macaling, the leader of demons and evil spirits which resides in Nusa Penida Island invades Bali with his vast demon and evil spirit legions spreading plagues and death all over the mainland starting from the coastal areas of south Bali. Balinese will take perform various rituals and ceremonies to negate the invasion the negative effects of the invasion and the most popular way is to seek help of another divinities especially from a Barong which usually acts as protector of a certain area.


During this critical months the representative of a certain village will beg to the Barong which in charge in that area to hold a ‘malancaran’ activity to his village. The word ‘melancaran’ is a high Balinese word which means ‘strolling away from one place to another’ in this context the word ‘melancaran’ means the protective Barong and sometimes is accompanied by his consort the Rangda make a trip to the village which need their help. The melancaran is not a direct trip from the temple in which the Barong and Rangda reside to the target village but moving from a temple to another which spread along the way to the target village. Hundreds of followers will accompany the Barong and Rangda during their trip, these followers create a long merry procession accompanied by energetic Balaganjur orchestra.

Arriving at the village which requests their help the Barong and Rangda will be escorted to the Pura Desa (village temple) in the middle of the village and given honorable places in Bale Agung (the great hall). The inhabitants of the village will present various offerings to the visiting deities and pray for their safety and prosperity.

After the welcoming ceremony is over, the Barong and Rangda along with their followers and village inhabitants will make a trip around the village, visit each temple which scattered all over the village. The Barong and Rangda will dance on every crossroad, chasing away the demons which spread the plagues and diseases. After finishing this around- the-village the Barong and Rangda will be escorted back to the village temple for a night rest or if there is much time left the Barong and Rangda will back to the temple where they reside.

It is not unusual for the Rangda to make a midnight trip to the village cemetery and other spooky place around the village with only few followers. The midnight trip of the Rangda is not a merry act of exorcism as the day trip of the Barong and Rangda. It is a dangerous trip of few brave (or fool in the eye of some Balinese) men and their hideous deity to the most dreaded places and sometimes fighting the unknown forces of evil but there is thrill of strange joy in it. I joined this kind of trip couple of times, in my opinion it is full of excitement as well as fear.

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