Pengotan Mass Wedding : Egalite and Fraternite in a Ceremony
Religious ceremony in Bali is an integral part of daily life and culture that gives distinctive characteristic to the life of Balinese. The ceremony in Balinese life is closely associated with the word ‘grand’, and ‘pompous’ but in this modern day there is a tendency to simplify and to make the ceremony more affordable. Resource-and-time consuming ceremony still hold the sway but there are innovation that offers affordable form of ceremony, there is Ngaben Ngelanus that simplify the cremation and deification ceremonies so they can be performed in one day. Mass cremation, mass deification and recently mass tooth filling give much relief to the Balinese on financial side. But for mass wedding, the village of Pengotan in Bangli is the only village that hold mass wedding in Bali.
The mass wedding ceremony in Pengotan village is not a recent innovation like mass tooth filling that was held recently by the vice governor of Bali but a centuries-long tradition that have been practiced in Pengotan village from generation to generation. The Pengotan village inhabitants have realized long time ago that equality, unity and affordability have to be practiced in the realm of religious ceremony, especially in wedding ceremony. At the beginning a couple in Pengotan village who wanted to get married should sacrifice a cow that is called Pekandelan Sampi, but then the change was made and now for a mass wedding only one cow is sacrificed in each wedding ceremony even when the couple is more than one. For example if there are ten couples the cost of the cow is divided by those couples. And each year the mass wedding ceremony is held twice. The mass wedding unites the inhabitant of Pengotan village in one event and moment, sharing happiness and joyful occasion.
The mass wedding ceremony though putting emphasis on equality, unity and affordability but still manage to create a distinctive character that make it easy to distinguish this village from other villages. Wedding ceremony, for some Balinese, serves not only to unite the couple but also to assert the economic and social status of the couple family, fulfilling a need to be recognized. In mass wedding there is small chance to assert one economic and social status, the cost of the ceremony is shared equally, the wedding dress is simple and adhered to the centuries-old tradition and the venue of the ceremony is in Puseh temple. The value of unity and equality are clearly shown in this wedding ceremony resulting in a ceremony that is one and only in Bali.
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Pengotan’s mass wedding ceremony is unique and interesting without grandiosity and pomposity. It is a reflection of egalite and fraternite.
Photos taken on September 16, 2011 at Pengotan
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