Balinese “Mud War”: Mabuug-Buugan
Bali is an island full of surprises due to its diversity of landscapes, the uniqueness of each village and particularly the multiple rituals and religious ceremonies practiced by the locals.
The Balinese Hindu celebrates hundreds of holy days throughout the year. In Kedonganan Village located in South Bali in the regency of Jimbaran, a very special ritual is held on the day after Nyepi: Mabuug-Bugan which can be translated into “Mud War”.
For the Balinese Hindu, Mud is a symbol of bad energy. Thus, on the first day of the Hindu Calendar, men of Kedonganan would gather nearby the mangrove forest to throw mud at each other and have a bath mud.
It is a common belief there that mud would neutralize the bad traits. This follows the cleansing of bodies and souls performed before and during Nyepi.
They enclose the ritual with a sea bath at the nearest beach to wash themselves from the mud literally and from the bad energies figuratively.
After the ritual is completed, they are ready to start this New Year with a pure soul.
For over 60 years, the government banned this tradition as it was performed in nudity back in the days. Today, this cultural event has been brought back to the light with only one rule: clothing is mandatory.
If you are coming to Bali, make sure you do not miss this unique event that acts as a milestone of the New Year ceremony and tells a lot about Balinese culture and heritage.