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The Sights

Bali Agung showcases the epic story of the twelfth century King Jaya Pangus and the pictorial account of his marriage to a Chinese princess and his intertwined love affair with the goddess of the lake, Dewi Danu, has become one among Bali’s most popular stories. So significant was the impact of their marriage that it still inspires as well as affects the life of Balinese people today. Two of several scenes in the Bali Agung performance, the royal wedding and the Barong Landung (tall barong effigies), still dominate the cultural colors of Bali.

Royal Wedding

Among the most celebrated human rite of passages in the Hindu tradition, a wedding is considered by Balinese as the second most illustrious manusa yadnya ceremony for humans and is only second to the cremation ritual.

Beyond the usual unification of two human souls, a wedding is a festivity in which the whole village community participates. Usually running over a one month-period with preparations that  include the marriage proposal, prayers at family temples of the bride and groom families,  purification ceremonies, tooth-filling (if one hasn’t already been performed), counseling by Hindu priests and a celebration on the culminating day. Amazingly enough, each of these set of event requires the presents of all community members. Even after this the couples are still required to visit each of their relatives, a tradition held from generation to the next.

If a regular wedding function is so intricate, you can imagine how a royal wedding would be. This is the main pictorial story of the Bali Agung, where the island’s beloved king marries a Chinese princess of an influential Kang dynasty, and we witness celebrations that were once held all across the island for days on end.

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Barong Landung

This literally means tall Barong and the two Barong Landung are actually manifestations of the King and his Chinese wife who were cursed to disappear by the goddess of the lake. The Goddess did this because she was so upset to learn that the father of her baby son was actually a married man.

These days, the two characters are still played regularly especially for the religious ceremonies performed once in every 210 days, during the celebration of Galungan and Kuningan days.
After their disappearance, the couple’s son, Prince Maya Denawa became Bali’s most brutal king, who claimed his powers went beyond that of ordinary humans. He forced his commoners to worship him instead of the God.
It was the battle between the wicked king and God Indra that earned Balinese their celebrated Galungan and Kuningan. It is the island’s most colourful celebration and every household erects bamboo pole on their house entrance, to symbolize that the truth will always stands upright against evil.

Every Galungan and Kuningan days, Barong Landung is staged in most villages with effigies of tall King Jaya Pangus and Princes Kang paraded around from house to house  to mark the victory of the God over the vicious king.

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