This dance in Bali is believed to take the spirit to heaven

Tabanan

Baris Memedi dance in Bali is believed to have its own ‘strength’. Balinese people believe, this dance can take the spirit to heaven. What’s the story like?

The Baris Memedi dance is usually performed by residents of Jatiluwih Village, Penebel District, Tabanan, Bali. This dance is quite unique. Unlike the Single Row Dance, which seems dashing and authoritative.

The only attribute that Baris Memedi dancers use is dry leaves. In fact, the aura that emanates tends to be frightening and magical.

Lecturer of Ayurveda and Hinduism at STIKES Advaita, I Nyoman Arjana, said that the Baris Memedi Dance is believed to be able to deliver the spirit that is about to be ceremoniously performed during the cremation to heaven.

“This (Bas Memedi Dance) includes the guardian dance and is specifically staged during the Ngaben ceremony. Outside of that it can’t be done,” said Arjana, Saturday (27/8/2022).

The Baris Memedi dance in Jatiluwih Village, Tabanan, is believed to be able to deliver the spirit that is going to be ceremonialized during the cremation to heaven.Memedi Baris Dance Photo: Chairul Amri Simabur/detikBali

“Memedies are the spirits of people who have acted on starch or died in an unnatural way. They also want to neutralize themselves so that they can be born as humans as soon as possible or go to heaven,” he continued.

Even if they can’t reach heaven, he said, they can be brought back or reborn as good human beings. This is related to the concept of reincarnation.

“It is different from other line dances in terms of attributes. All have a meaning or symbol,” he added.

In terms of the attributes or clothes worn by the Baris Memedi dance, he continued, most of them use dry wood banana leaves or what are called keraras.

“Wood bananas as a symbol of wood or sincerity in carrying out ceremonies signify the spirits of people who have an understanding of long life experiences,” he continued.

Another attribute is a galangal stem called ketugtug. The galangal stem is a symbol of the phallus. While the female memedi is symbolized by the attribute of coconut or papaya resembling female genitalia. The attribute becomes a symbol of acala.

“The meeting of the phallus and acala is expected to be the beginning of the birth of a good life,” he continued.

Memedi Baris Dance Performance Procession

The Baris Memedi dancers consist of nine people. This number is also a symbol of the direction of the nine cardinal directions. Before the performance, the Baris Memedi dancers follow the mesiram ritual in Beji, pemuspan, pedeng grandson.

Then continue with mamungkah at the traditional village graveyard. At this time, people who will be summoned to dance will come to the graveyard.

“There are dancers for generations. But there are also those who don’t,” he said.

He gave an example, initially that person did not want to be a Baris Memedi dancer. But when it is possible, that person can be moved to join the Baris Memedi dance.

“Only after that the stage from the cemetery to the front of the house that has a cremation ceremony,” he concluded.

Apart from Jatiluwih Village, Baris Memedi Dance is also available in other villages such as Banjar Puluk-puluk, Tengkudak Village, and Pohgending Village.

“In Pohgending it is called the Baris Ketujeng dance,” explained Arjana, who is also a resident of Tengkudak Village.

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This article has been up in detikBali and can be read in full here.

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