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The demon of Nusa Penida : Jero Gede Mecaling

28/02/14

Nusa Penida Island is full of stories, legends and myths. Today, here is the one about a horrible demon…

In our island Nusa Penida lives the king of the demons, Jero Gede Mecaling. The Balinese Hindus were really afraid of him. Originally, Gede Mecaling lived in the small village of Batuan in Bali, but he was chased away and exiled in Nusa Penida. Furious, he often went to Bali in order to spread there epidemics and diseases.

One time, he came to Bali followed by an assembly of demons. He arrived in the south of Bali under the form of a Barong. He was waiting there until his henchmen landed in the island and destroyed everything.

People triggered the alarm and decided to consult a priest to find a solution. This one told them to create another Barong like Jero Gede Mecaling, only this could affray him.

The inhabitants built a giant Barong and the demon ran away in Nusa Penida. From that moment, the Barong was used to hunt diseases and evil spirits. This tale is at the source of the Barung Ladund (“tall” Barong), a name given with reference to two giant moppets, one male and one female. Suspected to have the power of exorcizing the harmful influences in time of distress, these moppets are considered as sacred, and, like the other Barongs, they are preserved in a special box in the temples.

Even today, Balinese people are afraid of Jero Gede Mecaling, and think he is responsible of epidemics that happened, like Cholera in 1915. Every day, they are making offerings, called “Segehan”, towards demons in order to calm down their angers.

This article was written by Chloë, our new contributor to our blog Namaste, thank you Chloë ;-)n>

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