donderdag 4 november 2010

Ceremony at Pura Penataran Ped Nusa Penida.

Excerpt of what I wrote on February 10th 2010 in my diary.

Click for the film under "links": youtube 2010#13 & 14 Procession to the sea at Pura Ped Nusa Penida part 1 & 2.

And for more information about the island:

At half past seven Seta, our friend, driver and our big Nusa Penida support, because he knows everything on the lovely small island, as being born here, is coming around the corner, entering through the narrow corridor the compound of the homestay.

The beo in his cage is greeting him, saying: ´Om Swastiastu.´

We just finished our breakfast of coffee, ricecakes and Nusa Penida bananas, quite different from the normal Balinese ones. And are already completely dressed up in Balinese clothes. Only he has to help me with the udang, to get it properly knotted on my head.

When we after 15 minutes arrive at the pura, it is there already crowded with people.

Entering we see people busy with the dishes. Probably the results of the big breakfast. Because yesterday on the boat a man told me many people sleep in the temple.

Friendly people everywhere. Some of them want to go on a picture with us. Others are walking by, obviously being busy with something. So chickens are passing and parasols, piled offerings.

The main colour is white. As far as concerned the clothes. We are the only white ones by the colour of the skin. Making pictures and filming seems to be of not any problem. They even point me at interesting things to film. Normally I hold myself on the background, here I can go everywhere.

After the gamelan started to play and after we entered the real temple, we come into contact with a young man called Wayan. And he explains: ´It is because of your attitude and dress, everyone can see you show respect.´ And when I ask him if I can go on with my filming of all the praying people: ´No problem no problem.´

In a corner I see many ceremonial umbrellas and banners. He sees me looking and says: ´Duty.´

And disappears with the remark: ´To the sea.´

As one of the youngsters he takes one banner and put himself in a row.

A long `poleng´ cloth is being unfolded between the two rows of banners. In the direction of the gate. And there a man completely in white, of older age, is coming forward between the rows. Obviously in trance. Staccato movements. Both hands holding a small offering bowl with burning incense.

It is like he is looking inside, not outside.

He goes through the gate, so going out of the temple, going down the steps, progressing slowly, because he stops many times, followed by the priests (making soft sounds with the ritual bells), the youngsters with the banners, women with holy attributes and offerings on their heads. The big procession to the sea has started.

I go amidst the people, who are following, slowly going forward. Close to me the gamelan orchestra, playing walking. Going to the sea it is like I am already in the sea. I feel I am in flow. It feels like going up and down. Like to be in a big wave. A complete surrender. I get tears in my eyes. And I am thinking: ´Yes this is it. To be part of something great.´

When we arrive at the sea, at the beach, I see that they are going three times around, the first time with the feet in the sea. I specially follow the magic man as close as I can. This is really fantastic.

A group of young baris dancers arrive and start dancing. On the other side an older group of baris.dancers, holding up the magic man for quite a while with their trance making movements, holding the lances.

After the third round priests take the holy statues and other attributes from the people and put them on long tables in front of the sea. Then the ceremony starts of praying, offering and blessing with the holy water. In the meantime a group of very young girls makes a dance. They are wearing square hats of natural material. Seta is suddenly there and points me to the fire, a very important moment in the ceremony.

Fifi has taken place on a plastic chair next to a big gong. She can do that because the men of the gamelan have now taken place on the black sand of the beach, with the hands folded, a flower holding between the fingers. The priest, sitting in his high balĂ©, is leading this part of the ceremony. Ended by : ´Om shanti shanti shanti om.´

The baris youngsters come up on the scene again, the attributes are being taken again from the tables and with the magic man in front everyone is going back again to the temple.

But not just at once. Again it takes some time. As fascinating as before.

The only difference is, that now the magic man is preceded by women, completely in white, dancing backwards, making trancelike movements with the hands. I let everyone pass and in the end we follow slowly. On the sounds of the gamelan. Fifi and me are very silent. Impressed.

Hans Smeekes.

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