Barong and Keris Dance is said to be an art that is part of the repertoire of pre-Hindu culture in Bali besides the Sanghyang dance. Both are religious and sacred in nature which were originally performed as a means of religious ceremonies. Barong dance is a traditional Balinese dance which is still being preserved until now. The Balinese Barong dance is an ancestral artistic heritage originating from pre-Hindu culture. This dance depicts the fight between Dharma (Good) and Adharma (Evil). In this battle, the Barong dancers manifested goodness, meanwhile, the figure of Rangda, who looks creepy with two pointed fangs in his mouth, plays badness.
Barong Bali is believed to be a metamorphosis of barong ponorogo or Reog, by the king of Airlangga when he fled to Bali to save himself. In addition to the barong ponorogo that was brought to Bali, but also literary arts, Javanese script, and religion. In its development, the barong ponorogo was changed form and story according to the conditions of the people in Bali which were intended for religious spiritual activities. In this way, various forms of Balinese barong emerged which were the pride of each city in Bali.
Mythologically, this dance is used to ward off diseases caused by evil spirits, where on the island of Bali known as 'leak' is an evil spirit that likes to disturb humans. For Balinese people, the barong dance is a sacred dance which occupies the highest position and is equal to the power of Hindu gods. These high titles or positions include Ratu Lingsir, Ratu Sakti, Ratu Gede and so on. The naming comes from the mythological barong, which is considered the incarnation or symbol of Lord Brahma who wants to stop the spread of disease in the world by evil spirits. Frequent development, this dance has experienced modernization in terms of function and use. Barong dance is also used as an entertainment dance because it is influenced by social life.
Tells about a fight between barong and rangda, where it is told that there is a widow (black magic magician) who is angry because she can't find a suitable husband for her daughter Ratna Manggali. Because this witch was famous for her black magic powers, all the young men in the village were afraid to marry their daughter. Knowing this, the witch became angry and with her black magic she wreaked havoc in her village located in the kingdom of Daha, where the King Erlangga who was in power at that time became very afraid and sent soldiers to kill him, but his efforts failed because his black magic was so high he killed all the soldiers he sent.
Because of the attack the witch became very angry and called all her students and went to Setra Gandramayu's funeral to offer dead meat to Dewi Durga (Goddess of Death), the goddess Durga accepted the witch offering and agreed to her request and give powerful weapons called Banaspati, and the witch headed to the daha kingdom and immediately the daha kingdom experienced a plague in the village. Villages quickly became cemeteries, people dying before they could even bury the dead. Bodies were scattered everywhere and the smell was unbearable
Seeing this, King Erlangga became very sad and decided to ask for help from a powerful master named Mpu Bharadah, for the king's explanation, mpu bharadah agreed to his request to help the king, where mpu bharadah sent his student named Bahula to steal the magician's powerful weapon. which is named Banaspati.
With Bahula's trickery to pretend to marry the witch's daughter Ratna Manggali to marry and convince Ratna Mengali that her mother's actions were wrong and caused a huge disaster in the Daha kingdom, and Ratna Mengali agreed to help her, and when the witch left, Bahula stole a powerful weapon. with the help of Ratna Manggali.
Then he gave the stolen weapon to his teacher Mpu Bharadah. The Banaspati weapon turned out to be a manuscript containing the key to releasing the ultimate (knowledge that the magician had used upside down). Bharadah went to Daha to challenge the witch. With Barong's help, he was defeated. Before being killed, he asked to be released from his curse and purified.
That is the story of this barong and keris dance, the goal is to tell that the fight about good and evil, where in this story that good will prevail.
A person can die or be seriously injured in the Barong and Keris Dance. It was said that if Rangda's spell was too strong, a weak warrior might not be able to resist it, even with Barong's help. He might injure himself with his own keris. The Barong and Rangda masks are considered sacred objects, and before they are taken out the priest must be present to offer blessings by sprinkling them with holy water taken from Mount Agung, and offerings must be offered.