This week I would like to write few words about the Barong as you already saw in our logo and maybe you already ask to question why Barong what is it and what is the meaning of this symbol?
The Barong is Bali’s own mythical creature, though its exact origins are lost to history. According to folklore, the Barong is a symbol of righteousness and justice. Barongs are commonly depicted as lions, cows, lions, or even dragons.
A Barong consists of two parts: the head and the body. The head is considered most sacred, as it is carved from the wood of the pule or Blackboard tree (Alstonia scholaris) growing in temple courtyards. Once the wood has been extracted, it is blessed by a priest and then given to a special sculptor.
The sculptor then starts crafting, within the confines of a temple, apart from the body. On special occasions, the mask is conjoined with the body and used in a dance.
POPULAR RITUAL THEATRE
The Barong is the protagonist of one of Bali’s most famous and popular ritual theatre known as Calonarang, usually described as a contest between good and evil. The good Brong and the evil witch Rangda.
THE BARONG DANCE
The Barong dance is one of the most sacred dances in Bali. It was usually only conducted during special ceremonies, but now, some places hold daily Barong dances for tourist consumption.
It takes two people to animate a Barong; one person animating the head and the other the body. The Barong dance tells the story of Rangda, an evil witch who was feared by the people. Barong then rides into battle, along with his own army, to bring the evil witch to justice.
During the dance, dancers are put in a trance where they start stabbing themselves due to Rangda’s witchcraft. But they are not hurt because Barong casts protective magic on them.
Once the trance is over, Barong and his supporters finally overthrow Rangda. But she does not die. Instead, she reincarnates and Barong must defeat her again. The fight never stops. It is symbolic of light’s eternal strife against darkness.
The barong performance is the expression , through theater , entrancement and celebration of the whole complex of the Balinese mythic and religious world – the choreography involves not just a troupe of dancers and musician, but a whole village. In villages, children or young people often do small Barong shows door to door during special ceremonies, such as Galungan. This is known as ngelawang and is a fun way to see informal Barong dances.
In my next blog I will write few words about the special ceremonie called Galungan .
Source of bibliography : Bali Sekala & Niskala / Fred B. Eisman, Jr. Vp Bali Forever learning center from Google