Have you ever seen a traditional ceremony in Bali or its traditional celebration? If you haven’t, it is a must thing to do if you have plenty of time in Bali. Because of its uniqueness and contains a mystical value, it is very recommended if you can witness the ritual from the beginning of the preparation until the end of the process. In Denpasar, precisely Kesiman Village there is an interesting ritual called Pengerebongan. Usually, this ritual is performed by people lived in Kesiman Village at a certain time.
History of Pengerebongan
It is referred from Balinese term Ngerebong means gathering. Ngerebong itself is a blend of two words Ngereh and Baung, if those words are put together, it has a meaning of a magical procession of the union of pertiwi (earth) and akasa (outer space).
This tradition was held eight days after Kuningan Day, specifically on Radite (Sunday) Pon Wuku Medangsia according to the Balinese calendar system. The Ngerebong ceremony aims as a reminder for Hindus to maintain a harmonious relationship between human and God, between human and other humans, and between human and the universe (the concept of Tri Hita Karana).
Before starting Ngerebong ceremony, Balinese people pray at the Petilan Temple in Kesiman Village, Denpasar Regency. All of the ceremony series is carried out inside the temple, therefore the ritual performers include the visitor must wear traditional Balinese clothing. Women on their periods are prohibited to watch this ritual. After the praying is over, the street closing is carried out by pecalang or Balinese local security officers.
Next procession is pemedek (Balinese people who come and pray in the temple) will come out of the main temple go to Wantilan (temple hall) and carry out the ritual of Ngerebong by rounding the Wantilan (initially is the place for conducting cockfighting) three times. During rotating around Wantilan, it could be one of the pemedek will be possessed or even a mass trance has happened. Usually, the possessed pemedek will scream, cry, growl, even doing other violent actions. For example, stabbing sharp weapons into their bodies, chest, neck, even the crown of their head or known as Ngurek. The community believes that there is a spirit that possesses pemedek, therefore, the body will not be injured with any sharp weapons.
This ritual is accompanied by traditional music and several Barong and Rangda dances. Pengerebongan ceremony is also known as the Butha Yadnya Ceremony because it is done to maintain harmony between the universe and human. This ceremony usually starts in the morning around 9:00 and ends at sunset. This ritual begins with the Nyanjan and Nuwur Ida Bhatara Ceremony. The purpose of this ceremony is to present the sacred power of God/Goddess from heaven to the human world. You can see that the Pengerebongan Ceremony has been successfully carried out with the absence of the injured pemedek while doing Ngurek. This is believed as the manifestation of God/Goddess blessing from above to the pemedek who did Ngurek.
If you are interested in seeing Pengerebongan ceremony in Denpasar, you should check out the exact schedule when the Kuningan Day is. Then count to the next eight days afterward. Be ready to come to the Village of Kesiman wearing polite clothes and ask the pemedek or the society leaders there so you can find out how far you are allowed to take part in the ceremony.