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Ngerorod: Married by “Kidnapping”  

by on Thursday, 22 March 2007One Comment | 2,057 views

In Bali the honeymoon usually precedes the wedding; the average boy in love with a girl makes his marriage arrangements directly with her, and outside his father, perhaps, and a few friends from he needs help, he keeps his intention secret until the day, previously agreed upon between the boy and the girl, when he will steal her. Shy couples simply run away together to the house of a friend, as a rule in another village, where they spent honeymoon in hiding.


However, the Balinese love spectacular kidnappings. The girl arranges for her clothes to be taken secretly to their future hide out, and on the appointed day she is captured by somewhere on the road, in the fields, or in the river by the kidnapping party, led by her suitor. She is expected to kick and bite her abductors in sham of self-defense, and although there may be witnesses, no one would dream of interfering, unless they are the relatives of the girl, in which case they are supposed to put up a great fight

At her home as soon as her disappearance is discovered, her enrage father is supposed to run up the alarm-drum-tower and beat the kulkul, asking who took his daughter; but of course no one knows. Even a searching party may be organized simply for the fun of it; after a while they return empty breathless but empty-handed. Should it be known, however, that the girl has been abducted against her will, the pursuit is real and the kidnapper may be beaten and jailed if caught by the girl’s relatives.


Special offerings have been taken beforehand to the hide-out, and once safely there, it is law that the couple must consummate the wedding before the offerings have wilted. This is extremely important as these offerings alone make the marriage binding. The couple remains in hiding, going out as little as possible, until the negotiation with the girl’s father and all arrangements are concluded, and a lucky day is established for the return of the couple to the boy’s house. Representative of the boy – his father and his relatives – come to the girls house, if possible on the day the girl is taken, to inform her parents and to try to placate them, since the tradition demands them to appear outraged although, they may approve the boy.


Nowadays, this kind of wedding is simplified. No fight should be put up by the girl’s relatives and no searching party is organized since most of the married by elopement in late 1980s until now are planned by both of the families, in order to avoid the very expensive ceremonies that would have to have been put on had the couple married by the mutual consent of the two families.

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