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Ngerebeg (Village Purification Ceremony)  

by on Wednesday, 6 December 2006No Comment | 2,107 views

Ngerebeg is one of many kinds exorcism and purification ceremony that exist in Bali. The Ngerebeg ceremony is usually held in Kuningan day or before a temple festival especially in Gianyar regency. The Ngerebeg ceremony in one area can be totally different from other area but the purpose of this ceremony is still the same.

In Bangli, the Ngerebeg ceremony is a procession of the sacred Barong from its pelinggih (shrine), across the surrounding villages / banjars ending at the crossroads (catus pata). Ngerebeg is a ngelawang (traveling) activity for Bangli people, which is usually held during 42-day period following Galungan. This ceremony purifies the entire village and restores the balance of negative and positive force. The ngerebeg ceremony in Bangli involves many Barongs from all over the town of Bangli. They start from their respective village and finish at the major cross road (catus pata) in Bangli town.

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In Gianyar, the Ngerebeg ceremony is usually held before a temple festival in order to purify the whole village and pacify the invisible being so they will not disrupt the upcoming temple festival. The ngerebeg ceremony in Gianyar involves hundred of children mostly boys three to 16 years of age dress in traditional clothes, and paint their faces and bodies with a variety of terrifying images and patterns. Dark black and blood red are obligatory colors, while skulls and fangs are the favorite images. They walk down the street, make a loud noise in order to entertain and pacify the invisible beings. The participating children play the rule of Panjak hana-tan hana is a generic name for various beings that cannot be seen by ordinary human eyes. The members of this invisible group range from the generally benign Bhuta Kala (spirits of Nature) and the unpredictable Wong Samar (human-like residents of isolated gorges and deep jungles), to menacing demons.

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In Mengwi especially in the village of Munggu, the Ngerebeg ceremony is linked with commemoration of Kuningan day. Ngerebeg in Munggu is a long procession of temple treasures, deity effigies from various temples in Munggu, gamelans, progressing majestically around the village and stopping at each temple in turn to be showered with holy water. The procession ends in Munggu village temple. This procession is a kind of God inspectional tour around the village in order to purify the village and gives blessing to all the community.

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