Children Regenerates Ngelawang Tradition in Bali

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Ngelawang tradition
Children are performing tradition of ngelawang show.
  • LOVELY performing arts in Bali are not merely intended for entertainment, but also for devotion to God and helping promote good health
  • Helping promote good health is realized through ngelawang, a door-to-door or street show to repel catastrophe 

Ngelawang is a type of sacred performance in the form of Barong Dance or the like intended for catastrophe repellent. It is performed from one door to another or throughout the village area.

Mythologically, the ngelawang tradition is said to originate from the Goddess Ulun Danu who changed her appearance into a demon in order to help the villagers drive away evil spirits. In the past, if the hairs of the barong scattered, people would collect them and made them into efficacious item to repel catastrophe or influence of evil spirits.

The Hindu community in Bali believes that the hairs of the sacred barong has a protective power, so that residents who are coming along with toddlers will ask for a barong’s hair to be worn as a bracelet to avoid disturbing negative forces. Apparently, this makes sense because the sacred barong has passed through pasupati or has been revived magically-religiously with a complete ritual procession.

Ngelawang belonging to wali performance or related to ceremonies and has mystical aims to nullify negative forces, indigenous villagers will make offerings and after that get holy water to be sprinkled on family members as a sign of a gift of salvation.

Meanwhile, ngelawang for entertainment is usually performed by a group of children or teenagers by dancing the barong dance in Bali around the village and across villages accompanied with simple gamelan music. Well, this type of ngelawang is part of a tradition associated with Galungan and Kuningan celebrations in Bali. During the Ngelawang activities, the homeowners will come out and present money as donation after the troupe makes performance in front of their house compound.

If you happen to spend holidays on the Island of the Gods (Bali) during the celebration of Galungan and Kuningan, you will be lucky enough because of being able to see this free performance of barong dance ngelawang at particular villages. However, as long as the Covid-19 pandemic still lasts, the performance may not be organized based on safety and healthy consideration.






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