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Ngelawang Barong (Door to Door Exorcism)  

by on Sunday, 25 October 2009One Comment | 3,575 views


The word “ngelawang” in traditional art context is equivalent to “door to door art performance”. In the beginning of 19th door to door mask performance was an everyday spectacle. But since the beginning of 20th century this tradition was already in the grip of extinction. The reminiscent of the ngelawang tradition still can be found today in “Ngelawang Barong” tradition. But it is not a “door to door art performance” but “door to door exorcism”.

Ngelawang Barong

The Ngelawang Barong is a journey of Barong (personification of Lord Protector in form of mythical beast such as lion, tiger, boar, etc) in a certain area in order to restore the balance of negative and positive force in that area. The Ngelawang Barong activity is held during a 42-day period following Galungan. The lord protector (Barong) begins the journey at 3 or 4 pm until 8 pm for a long distance or a vast area the barong may spent a night in a certain temple usually the village temple.



The Barong in ngelawang activity usually takes a main road or secondary road of the village but never on small road or alley. The owner of the house in that area will stop the passing Barong and ask the Lord to purify his house compound by performing a ritual dance on the street in front of his house compound. The owner the house will presented an offering of canang sari (small arrangement of flower on young coconut leave, holy water in small container, and some money usually Rp. 5000 or Rp 10.000. The focus is not on the money, but on the offering. People can not ask the protection only with money without proper offering, but someone can ask the protection only with an offering without money. The owner of the house and his family will pray in front of the dancing barong, and the barong will give his blessing by giving a small amount of his fur which is used as an amulet by the owner of the house.



Ngelawang Barong not just performed during a 42-day period following Galungan but also in time of disaster such draught, failed crops, plague, and Bali bomb. For the failed crops disaster the Ngelawang Barong will be carried out on the rice field. The barong will give his blessing by running or dancing on the rice field. For other disasters the Ngelawang Barong will be held in on the spot of disaster.

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