Celebrate Med-medan Festival Sesetan - Denpasar Bali

By: Bali Holiday Packages | Posted: 28th April 2010

On eastern culture, kissing in public is a taboo, but not in Banjar Kaja Sesetan, Southern part of Denpasar. There is a kissing festival called med-medan. It is held once a year, one day after Nyepi. Bali Packages Tour and Travel on www.bali-packages.com can guide you to have this experienced.

On Med-Medan, there are two groups of teenagers, one group consisting of girls and the other consisting of boys. The Bleganjur (local musical instrument) follows both groups as they walk in ellipse form. The beat of the Bleganjur becomes faster. Then both groups have to stand face to face. They then become closer and closer to each other until, suddenly, the first person in every group kisses each other. After a couple of minutes both groups will bow down and some adult people, who behave almost like referees, pour water over them and the groups will separate.

The first person will be replaced by another and they will repeat again and again until all the group's members have had their chance, to be the first person.
The tourists who watch Med-Medan found that the festival is unique and a fun game. Unfortunately, this tradition is only for Banjar Kaja Sesetan residents. People outside this village can not join the game.

However, watching this festival is already a pleasure. No need to participate to feel the fun.

Med-Medan festival is based on good old story telling. There is a story about senior figure from an upper caste of the village feeling sick and needing a good rest. At Nyepi, people of his neighborhood organized games and created various noises that only ended in making him feel dizzy. He stepped out in order to disperse the crowd, but suddenly the ill figure felt cured from his sickness.
Instead of stopping the people from having fun, he encouraged them to keep going. Since then, people uphold the tradition of playing med-medan at Nyepi.
The festival has to be held once a year. No one dares to stop the Med-Medan tradition in Banjar Kaja Sesetan. If there is no Med-Medan after Nyepi day, there will be a disaster happend to the local people.

There is a story about a number of villagers who fell sick without good reason, after the village failed to perform the tradition during the 1960's. Up until now, people believe that they must do the tradition to keep the misfortune away and mèd-mèdan is considered a sacred ritual, something that must be annually upheld.

Nowadays, the kissing ceremony has been transformed, from a fun game or communal activity into a sacred ritual. Its format has also evolved. It has become more and more organized, involving the youngsters of the village community. In the past, many youths were embarrassed to participate. But now, many of them think that join Med-Medan is their responsibility as young village community members.

Each year, the kissing ritual becomes more and more lively. Even the organizers accept sponsorship to fund the tradition.
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Tags: crowd, neighborhood, pleasure, first person, girls, having fun, teenagers, referees, year one, couple of minutes, tradition, musical instrument, tourists, fun game