It has become a tradition for Jasri customary villagers of Karangasem to present various dances like the Rejang, Abuang and Legong in Bale Agung temple. These sacred dances are part of a ritual series known as Meprani in conjunction with the celebration of Galungan and Kuningan feast day. All villagers present pekenak to Ulun Busali deity as venerated gods in Bale Agung temple.
According to Chief of Jasri customary village, I Nyoman Sutirtayasa, the Rejang, Abuang and Legong dance symbolized the sacrifice and an expression of gratitude for the abundance of worldly endowment to deities who would return to Java Island. “These dances are meant to entertain and please the deities because it is believed when returning to Java they will bestow graces of prosperity. On that account, it will give the source of life for Balinese people,” he said.
Local people believed, explained Sutirtayasa, the series of dharma victory day (Galungan-Kuningan) was initiated since the deities came down from Java to Bali namely on Sugian Jawa and they were ready to receive devotee’s worship. Furthermore, they were presented with oblation on Galungan and Kuningan. Three days after Kuningan, the deities were presented with aci prani accompanied with the performance of Rejang, Abuang and Legong dance.
The dances were performed by daa (virgin girls) from 33 customary hamlets existing in the area. They danced hand in hand clockwise on the courtyard of Bale Agung temple accompanied with gamelan music. They danced with graceful movement in attires with typical teterek accessories on the back and headdress embellished with young banana leaf ornament.
More interestingly, the Rejang dance with distinctive movement was never taught or learned by the daa. However, when it was time to perform the dance they would be able to do it. At the end of the Meprani ritual it was marked with the disposal of used ritual paraphernalia of Kuningan celebration to the sea.
A senior figure of local customary village, I Nyoman Putra Adnyana, said that presentation of such sacred dances like the Rejang, Abuang and Legong was originated from the stage of Rejang dance in Puseh temple. However, it was then also presented to deity abiding in the Bale Agung temple. “Theologically, the ishta devata (venerated gods) abiding in Bale Agung is the Tri Murti symbolizing the omnipotence of God in his manifestation as the Generator, Operator and Destroyer,” he said. (BTN/015)