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Jakarta Post

Usaba Dangsil radiates happiness and acceptance

Wed, October 12, 2016   /   10:37 am
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    A view of a Karangasem resident’s yard where parents are drying various fabrics and paraphernalia for daha [young unmarried women] and teruna [young unmarried men] who will follow the Usaba Dangsil procession for several weeks. The last ceremony was held 14 years ago at Bungaya, one of the oldest villages in Karangasem, Bali. JP/ Luh De Suriyani

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    A boy gets help with his traditional attire. It consists of woven cloth, colorful shawls, sacres yellow fabric and a kris. JP/ Luh De Suriyani

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    Girls get dressed in the afternoon in preparation for a ritual that will last until dawn in a Hindu pura [temple] in late August. For 12 hours they stay awake and dance. Usaba Dangsil is a ritual to honor young people’s initiation and an education about tradition for young villagers. JP/ Luh De Suriyani

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    A Daha [young woman] sleeps while waiting for her turn to dance. The young participants are not allowed to eat, drink or carry their cell phones during the Usaba Dangsil ritual. JP/ Luh De Suriyani

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    The main ceremony of Usaba Dangsil in late August: the inauguration of the daha [young unmarried women] and teruna [young unmarried men] in preparation for the future generation. More than 500 young men and women who felt mentally and physically prepared joined the procession. JP/ Luh De Suriyani

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    Muslim women living in a Muslim kampung in the middle of Bungaya village, take a peek over a wall at the Hindu ritual. About 20 Muslim men from Sasak Lombok joined the thousands of Hindu men to carry a mountain of produce, which can weigh between 2 to 7 metric tons. JP/ Luh De Suriyani

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    The costumes for the young women are yellow cloth that is considered sacred by the villagers. The piece of cloth is treasured by each of the young men and women who have been inaugurated daha and teruna in Bungaya. The cloth will be carried to their graves, and the bearer cannot wash it or misplace it. JP/ Luh De Suriyani

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    Usaba Dangsil in late August is a grand affair involving tens of thousands of residents carrying seven giant towers as a symbol of prosperity and protection. All residents, visitors and officials who attend Usaba Dangsil must wear only kamen, or a sarung, without any adornments on their heads like udeng or jewelry. JP/ Luh De Suriyani

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    Tens of thousands of people participate in the majestic Usaba Dangsil ritual in Karangasem Bali, in late August. The seven giant pillars symbolize welfare and protection. JP/ Luh De Suriyani

With the last ceremony 14 years ago, residents of Bungaya in Karangasem, one of the oldest villages in Bali, once again proudly participated in the Usaba Dangsil ritual, an extravagant thanksgiving and rite of passage ceremony.

People were beaming with enthusiasm and happiness as they followed a series of activities in the ritual of Usaba Aya, better known as Usaba Dangsil [festival of gratitude], in Bungaya village, Karangasem regency, some 80 kilometers from Denpasar, Bali.

Colorful traditional cotton clothes also marked the auspicious days. In fact, visitors and residents watching the ritual are not allowed to wear plain or white and black outfits, which are believed to only belong to the gods.

The main ceremony of Usaba Dangsil is the induction of the daha and teruna as members of the succeeding generation. More than 500 young males and females who felt physically and mentally prepared had enrolled.[evi]

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