Sun, Mar 10, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Revived Balinese mud bath ritual draws mixed crowd

AFP, DENPASAR, Indonesia

Participants put mud on their bodies during a traditional mud bath ritual known as mebuug-buugan in Kedonganan Village, Indonesia, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

A day after Indonesia’s Bali island fell quiet for the annual “Day of Silence” festival, hundreds joined a mud bath purification ritual that has recently been revived, after a sixty-year hiatus.

The mud bath, known locally as mebuug-buugan, is believed to purify, and remove bad luck and negative energy. Men, women and children, wearing sarongs and traditional head gear, collected lumps of mud from a mangrove forest in Kedonganan Village, just outside Denpasar, on Friday and smeared themselves as part of the purification ritual.

It comes a day after Nyepi, a Balinese festival where Hindus — as well as non-Hindus and tourists — are expected to stay at home and self-reflect, while flights, lights and the Internet are all stopped.

In the past, participants were naked during the mud festivities, but in the mid-20th century, local residents grew less comfortable with public nudity.

The festivities were halted for six decades, until being revived three years ago — on the understanding that the concept of the ritual would change, so that participants were allowed to wear clothes.

Villagers of all ages smeared mud on anyone in the vicinity, after praying for safety and good fortune.

After the mud bath ritual, they headed to the nearest beach together to rinse off the dirt and ward off evil spirits.

The ritual has been popular since its return, and travelers watched on the sidelines and snapped pictures to capture the moment.

On Wednesday, a day before Nyepi, the island held its annual ritual to ward off demons and evil spirits.

In the parade, colorful effigies known as ogoh-ogoh were paraded through the streets before being burned, representing renewal and purification.

Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country, but more than 80 percent of Bali’s population identify as Hindu and practice a local version of the religion.

This story has been viewed 2346 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top