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Mass Kisses for the Goodness: The Enchanting Omed-Omedan Ritual

Mass Kisses for the Goodness The Enchanting Omed-Omedan Ritual

Picture this: you are standing on the side of a crowded street, watching a mass of youth gathered altogether, kissing one another under the spray of water. You are not in a movie set, but a ritual that annually commenced in Bali island. This is the story of Bali's remarkably unique Omed-Omedan ritual. Let's delve to uncover the essence of this enchanting ritual, its history, philosophy, and the intricacies of its execution.

Mass Kisses for the Goodness: The Enchanting Omed-Omedan Ritual

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Historical Background

Dating back to the 17th century, Omed-Omedan finds its origins in the royal community of Puri Oka, South Denpasar. What began as a simple game of tug of war evolved into an exuberant display of affection, where young singles engage in a playful exchange of kisses and embraces. Over the centuries, the tradition gained momentum, becoming an integral part of Balinese culture. The ceremony was once discontinued due to the concern that it was not in line with Eastern values and customs, where kissing in public is considered taboo. But after a series of bad omen that involves two pigs fighting on the place where the ritual usually commenced, Omed-Omedan carried out once again. But today, it is only done by the Banjar of Sesetan street, Denpasar .

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At its core, Omed-Omedan embodies the Balinese concept of balance and harmony, symbolized by the push-and-pull forces between positive and negative elements. The ritual's name literally translates to 'pulling one another'; think the 'tug of war' game, but done in the spirit of love and unity. The ritual, held one day after Nyepi, the Day of Silence, serves as a celebration of renewal and connection. By bringing together unmarried youths from Banjar Kaja, aged 17 to 30, Omed-Omedan fosters bonds within the community and strengthens the ties that bind.

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Details of the Ritual

As the sun casts its golden glow over Sesetan, Denpasar, participants gather in anticipation of Omed-Omedan. Following prayers at the temple, male and female participants from the Banjar form two groups, facing each other on the main street. With the signal from the Hindu priest, the kissing procession commences, accompanied by the rhythmic sounds of gamelan chimes. Amidst cheers and laughter, participants engage in a playful exchange, pulling each other closer and exchanging kisses and embraces. Meanwhile, villagers shower them with buckets of water, adding to the festive atmosphere. The energy is infectious, drawing spectators and tourists alike to witness this age-old tradition.

Where to Witness

For those eager to experience the magic of Omed-Omedan firsthand, Sesetan, Denpasar, is the place to be. Specifically held by Banjar Kaja and its community, the ritual takes place during the afternoon between 2-3pm. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early to secure a prime viewing spot and capture memorable moments.

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In a world marked by rapid change and individualism, traditions like Omed-Omedan is a great reminder about harmony and unity. As Balinese youths come together to celebrate love and connection, they remind us of the importance of preserving our roots and cherishing the bonds that unite us. So, whether you're a seasoned traveler or a curious explorer, make sure to add Omed-Omedan to your Bali itinerary for an unforgettable experience steeped in tradition and joy.