In Balinese Hinduism, the forces of good and evil are symbolized by Barong and Rangda – spirits of light and dark magic. Barong and Rangda are represented by dancers in elaborate costumes and masks, and as they dance they show the conflict between positive and negative forces in the world. Barong are guardian animal spirits such as lions, tigers and dragons, and Rangda are monstrous and frightening women.
There are many villages in Bali, but Apuan vilage has a very special connection with the Barong. The temple Pura Luhur Natar Sari Apuan in Apuan is one home of the god Siva Pasupati, who is the blesser of symbols in Balinese Hinduism. As important religious symbols, Barong must be blessed when they are first created and also for periodic rejuvenation. At these times, Barong from all over Bali are brought to Apuan to take part in the procession of the Barong, Batara Turun Kabeh.
During this ceremony, 50 to 70 Barong are gathered in the temple courtyard to be given offerings and blessed with holy water. The holy water for this ceremony comes from all the major Hindu temples of Bali and Java. The Barong festival is important not only for the blessing of the Barong, but also to connect the minds and hearts of the festival committee, the participants and the different communities.
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