THE BARONG DANCE
The Barong is the magical protector of Balinese villages. As” lord of the forest” with its long mane and fanatic fanged mask, he is the opponent of Rangda the witch, who rule over the spirits of darkness. Barong and Rangda are opposed on a never ending fight, that of good and evil.
At the time of Galungan and Kuningan festivals, the Barong – which there are meny types: Barong Ket (lion), Barongng Macan (tiger), Barong Bangkal (pig/boar) – wanders from door to door (ngelawang) to cleanse the territory of the evil influences.
The fight of Barong and Ranga is also the topic of traditional narratives, usually performed in the temple of the dead. The most famous is the story of Calonarang. The widow from Jirah is furious because she cannot find a proper husband for her daughter Ratna Manggali. The youths are all scared of her black magic. She vents revenge by wreaking havoc over the kingdom of Daha. The king, Erlangga, tries to punish hr, but all his attempts fail. The furious Calonarang kills the entire soldier he sends to destroy her.
Rangda decide to destroy Daha. She summons all her disciples and they go in depth of the night to Setra Ganda Mayu cemetery, to present offering of dead flesh to Durga, the goddess of death. Durga concern to the destruction, although she advises the witch not to enter the city of Daha. The witch does not heed the advice.
The kingdom is soon hit by Grubug (pandemic) and village become cemeteries as people die even before they can bury there dead. Corpses are scattered everywhere, and the stench is unbearable.
The only person able to defeat the witch is Mpu Bharadah. At the king’s request, Bharadah send his disciple Bahula to steal the witch magic weapon of Calonarang. To approach her, Bahula pretends to ask for Ratna Manggali’s hand.
When the witch is away, Bahula steals the magical weapon with Ratna Manggali’s help. Then he hand the stolen weapon to his teacher Bharadah. Surpirse! The weapon is a manuscript containing the key to ultimate release – moksa- that was used upside down by Calonarang. Bharadah immediately departs for Daga and challenges the witch. With the help of the Barong, she is defeated. Before being killed, she asks to be released from her curse and purified.