Coffee and Ceremony

Lucky night. While walking along Jl Raya Ubud after an early dinner at Fair Place Warung,  I saw droves of Balinese in formal attire walking and gathering in groups. The last time such gatherings took place, the procession with the ogoh-ogoh took place.

A group of  women had taken post at the corner of Jl Raya Ubud and Jl Sri Wedari. Sensing a procession, I went to nearby Warung Schnitzel, ordered a kopi bali and took stock of the scene from the warung’s balcony. Just as I was finishing what was left in the coffee press, I noticed the crowd had gone bigger and young women with offerings on their heads and young men carrying the sacred barong masks had assembled.

I quickly paid for my coffee just as gong music led by the ceng ceng started.

People were  seated in a circle inside which were numerous offerings.  A man in all white,  presumably a pedandas took what seemed to be some root crops and diced them. When he finished, another pedandas scattered away grains of rice. All throughout, woman sang in a plaintive chant.

Then a bell started to ring whereupon the kneeling crowd took a petal, clasped it between their fingers and seemed to offer it with their arms in prayer position above their heads. When the bell stopped ringing, the women put the petal in a knot on their hair. This went on about three times.


Then everyone stood-up and one of the pedandas blessed the women with the offerings.


Gong music started and the procession began with the women leading followrd by the barong masks and the barong ket then the musicians and finally the crowd.



It was such a thrilling scene with the barong masks held high above the carriers’ heads towering over a sea of people.  The procession went down Jl Raya Ubud then turned left to Jl Hanoman.

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