One of the cultural heritage in Bali that still preserved until now is Omed-Omedan Festival, it is a mass kissing festival in Bali. Not same as mass naked photos action that undertaken by Spencer Tunick, this mass kissing festival in Bali is not a pornography. Mass kissing festival is done by young man and young lady in Banjar Kaja, Sesetan, Denpasar. It is traditional festival which held every year to preserve the cultural heritage.
In Balinese, Omed-Omedan means tugging each other. Omed-omedan process begins with separating boys and girls into two groups. Then each partner hugging and kissing each other. Few women participants looked so embarrassed, instead of men participants that looked so enthusiastic and make the audience laugh out loud.
In this Omed-Omedan Festival, the age of participants is limited. The minimum age is equal with junior high school students and the maximum age is belongs to university student who are not have graduated yet. Beside that, all participants are required to using traditional Balinese outfits.
This tradition is also a gathering event for every citizen. Once upon a time, people who lived here are farmers who really busy with their job at rice field so they didn’t have so much time to meet their neighbor. The condition nowadays is still the same, so this Omed-Omedan Festival really important to preserve.
The origin of this mass kissing festival is derived from folklore in earlier times. It is said that when the King of Puri Oka was seriously ill and there is no royal physician who can heal the pain. On Nyepi Day, people at Puri Oka held this Omed-Omedan Festival. Because the atmosphere of this festival so rousing and make a noise then it makes the King feel so angry.
Intends to stop the event, the King staggered out of the palace. And the king suddenly cured after seeing Omed-Omedan Festival. Finally the king released a decree that Omed-Omedan Festival should be held every year after Nyepi ceremony.
Omed-Omedan Festival has been going on since the 17th century and continue to be held every day after the celebration of Nyepi Day. Besides for maintain togetherness between all, people worried that there will be a disaster if they stopped this tradition. Therefore, this tradition should be preserved until this time.