Omed-omedan, a Phenomenal Balinese Kissing Tradition


Bali has a unique tradition. One of them is Omed-omedan, where village youths kiss each other. Actually, what is the meaning of this tradition? Let’s listen!

The Omed-omedan tradition is usually held in Sesetan Village, Denpasar, Bali. This tradition always attracts the attention of tourists. This tradition is quite unique because hundreds of youths (teruna and teruni) in the village will kiss each other.

According to the writings of I Nyoman Jayanegara in the Bali Journal to Build Bali (Volume 2 Number 2, August 2019), this tradition was originally known as Med-medan. In the 2000s the name of this tradition was refined to Omed-omedan.

Omed-omedan is not a place to indulge in lust. Sesetan residents interpret this tradition as an effort to strengthen the sense of honing, compassion, and care among residents, especially residents of Banjar Kaja, Sesetan Village.

Meanwhile, omed-omedan in Indonesian means attraction. The Omed-omedan tradition in Sesetan is usually held during ngembak gni or the day after the Nyepi Day celebration. Those involved in Omed-omedan are young people aged 17-30 years in the village.

Omed-omedan Implementation Procession

Before Omed-omedan is held, the participants pray together at the temple. The event then continued with the performance of Barong Bangkung. After that, the group of participants entered the courtyard of the temple.

Omed-omedan started with two groups, namely the male and female groups. Groups of men and women were made facing each other. Gamelan music was also played. A few moments later, a village elder gave a signal for the two groups to approach each other.

Omed-omedan tradition in Banjar Kaja, Sesetan Village, Denpasar.Omed-omedan tradition in Banjar Kaja, Sesetan Village, Denpasar. Photo: (doc. Disparda Bali)

That’s when the Omed-omedan participants from each group wrestle with each other (hug), then diman (kiss), then siam (water splashed). Meanwhile, the other participants listened, aka tug of war.

Omed-omedan, listening to each other, wrestling with each other. Wherever…

Omed-medan, busy ngelutin, ne len listening. Wherever…

This is a snippet of the lyrics of the song sung by the young men and women of Sesetan Village when Omed-omedan was held.

Next up: The Origin of the Omed-omedan Tradition

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