Omed-omedan, Unique Ritual from Sesetan Community – Among the many Nyepi Day celebrations, there is a unique tradition that can only be found in Banjar Kaja Sesetan, Sesetan Village, Denpasar. The tradition is called omed-omedan, which is a ritual of hugging and tugging alternately between two groups of young people who are routinely held every year on the first day after Nyepi. According to one shaman from Sesetan Village, I Gusti Ngurah Oka Putra, omed-omedan is thought to have existed since the 17th century and continues to this day. According to the heir of Puri Oka who is familiarly called Ngurah Bima, “omed-omedan” comes from the word “omed” which means interesting.


Once upon a time in the past, this tradition was once abolished. However, suddenly in the middle of the village two wild pigs appeared to fight each other. Sesetan Village Community considers this as a bad sign. Seeing this sign, the village elders immediately called back the young people to gather and hold Omed-omedan as usual. After that incident, this tradition continues to be held routinely in an effort to prevent the village from disaster.

In this tradition, the local youth are grouped into two groups, namely the male (teruna) and the female (teruni) groups. Before the ritual began, all participants attended a joint prayer ceremony at the Banjar Temple. Through this joint prayer, the participants asked for cleanliness and smoothness in carrying out the Omed-Omedan ritual. After the prayer ritual, a barong bangkung dance performance (barong pig) is shown which is intended to recall the incident of a pair of wild boar in this village.

The two groups lined up face to face guided by the adat police (pecalang). Then, alternately one person from each group was chosen to be appointed and paraded to the front of the line. The two groups then clash with each other and the two young people who are positioned at the front must hug each other. When both of them are hugging each other, each group will pull the two partners apart from each other. If these two young people cannot be released, the committee will flush them with water until it is soaked.

When young couples meet and hug each other tightly, there will be times when they will clash their cheeks, forehead, and even lips. Many ordinary people from the outside are misinterpreting this as kissing each other. The omed-omedan ritual mistakenly received the title of mass kissing ritual from Sesetan Village.

Ngurah Bima revealed that this was not appropriate, because this young couple met each other in a short time and chaotic conditions. Even though the opportunity exists and participants want it, the keos conditions will not allow participants to enjoy the moment.

In the past, the Sesetan community only saw the omed-omedan tradition as part of the masima krama or dharma shanti (establishing friendship) among fellow citizens. Over time, this tradition turned out to be a special attraction for tourists. Realizing this, the local community then packed the Omed-Omedan tradition as an annual cultural heritage festival with the title Omed-Omedan Cultural Heritage Festival which was also enlivened with bazzar and stage performances. From year to year, visitors to this festival continue to increase, even more so among photography enthusiasts who compete with each other to capture the rare momentum as an object of their exploration.
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