Ngelawang at Bali Art Festival
On June 28th, at 10.00 in the morning Art Center was filled with visitors. Men-women, young-old, and native-foreigners seemed never want to blink their eyes as if they did not want to miss a thing from this show. They were hypnotized. Wherever the show went then those people would follow it as if they were the part of this show.
Bali Art Festival does not just present Balinese handmade goods or Balinese culinary heritage but also performances that begin to be neglected. One of them is Nglawang. This show had been presented twice to re-popularize it to the people, especially to the Balinese children.
Nglawang actually is a Balinese tradition aiming to ward a village from disasters. This tradition is similar to Pangrebongan which is held in Kesiman village (see the article). Nglawang is usually held after Kuningan day in several villages in Bali but it becomes rare ritual to be held in the town nowadays.
Nglawang derives from word ‘lawang’ meaning door. Nglawang means showing sanctified tapakan (similar to statue made from metal or wood which is usually glorify and kept in one village) barong, from one door to another, from one house to another and from one village to another.
Nglawang nowadays develops to another function. This tradition changes to be a part of art show. Groups of people exhibit their unsacred barong, rangda, etc and demonstrate a procession of Nglawang to entertain the visitors.
This kind of performance was also conducted at Bali Art Festival XXX on June 28th by representatives from 5 regions in Bali. Every representative brought its barong, rangda, monkey costume and gamelan. Moreover their performances were accompanied by Pemangku (Balinese priest who officiate the traditional ceremonies).
Late in the afternoon, Representative from Jembrana, Karangasem, and Badung has ended their performance. Then representative from Bangli’s turn to conduct the core of this show in front yard of Ardha Candra. In the meantime, column of people from Tabanan began to walk around the Art Center. On the very back column, people who played gamelan followed. And that gamelan player was preceded by people who wore very scary barong, Rangda, and monkey costume who dance while walking as part of parade. In front of them there were six little girls who wore mask waving a very big ‘handkerchief’. The two men with red ceremonial umbrella walked after them And Pemangku guided them all in front.
Many children got close to Rangda or Barong and then took a photo together. Children were not afraid with Barong and Rangda because they caressed the children instead of frightened them. But, do not try this if you are in the real nglawang.
Next, they started entering the front yard of Ardha Candra where the core of nglawang took place. Many people happened to be there, waiting the last performance from Tabanan, although they had watched nglawang performance from other regions.
People who played gamelan and two men brought the umbrella parted from the column. The little girls started to dance. After that Rangda also began to dance and the musical accompaniment was beaten more andmore energetic. Barong entered the arena to fight Rangda. It made many more people came to stand around Barong and Rangda.
When Barong was fighting with rangda, a group of men entered the arena and stabbed their self with Keris while screaming as if they all were in trance. The actors were very good because that performance looked like reality. Some children became emotional moreover. “Oh no, that man near the tree is still in trance,” and another child screamed cheering Barong. “Come on Barong!! Those Rangda must be defeated,” A boy run to his parent and tell them what he already watched. Well, all people there were entertained and children got something new from those performance. Wishing that they can share their experience to their friends and this tradition will be known widely once again.
Barong succeeds to defeat Rangda. And the musical accompaniment stopped then, signing that performance ended. People gave their loud applause, thank to outstanding performance which had given.