AND DEMONS: OFFERINGS AND
were thus lured to the great offering and then expelled from the
village by the curses of the priests. The Regent of Badung joined
in the prayers with his entire family, kneeling in front of the
Sun-altar and making reverences while the nine priests rang bells
and chanted formulas. When they finished, " new fire "
and holy water were given by the priests to the heads of each
bandjar, and the poor were allowed to loot the offerings for money
and other useful objects.
exploded in every direction and all the kulkuls in Den Pasar were
beaten furiously, the populace ran all over town in groups, often
with their faces and bodies painted, carrying torches on the end
of long poles, beating drums, gongs, tin
cans or anything that made a noise, yelling at the top of their
lungs: " Megedi, megedi! Get out! Get out! "- beating
the trees and the ground, to scare away the unsuspecting butas
who had assembled to partake of the offerings. From a dark corner
came a deafening din that seemed produced by the frightened devils
themselves, but our flashlight revealed a gang of naked children
heating empty gasoline cans.The
noisy torch parades swept over town until they were exhausted,
long after midnight.
following day, nyepi, was supposed to be one of absolute stillness,
a day when no fires, no sexual intercourse, and no work of any
sort were permitted. There was no traffic on the roads and only
by special permit and the payment of a heavy fine could the cars
of foreigners drive through a town. In most Balinese villages
the people were not even allowed out of their houses, especially
in North Bali, where the nyepi regulations are strict.
Den Pasar it was forbidden even to light a cigarette, but people
went out visiting as on a holiday. Curious tug-of-war games (med-medan)
were organized there for the amusement of the young people; in
bandjar Kaliungu, men on one side, girls on the other, pulled
a long rattan until one side defeated the other, but in bandjar
Sesetan a shouting crowd of boys stood facing a group of girls;
the boys charged as in a football game and captured one girl,
who then had to be rescued by her friends in a rough free-for-all.
tugged and pulled and the poor prisoner, wild-eyed and with her
hair loose, was so roughly handled in the desperate effort to
free her that she fainted. But someone walked over to her and
unceremoniously emptied a bucket of cold water on her head so
she would revive and the game could proceed; when the girl was
rescued the men captured another. Although the unique game is
not played outside of the neighbourhood of Den Pasar and then
only on nyepi day, the Balinese insisted it had no significance
of any sort and that its object was purely play.
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