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Pendet Dance, a Flower Petal Offering Ritual

Pendet is a wonderful dance, showcasing beautiful girls, beautiful natural elements (flower petal), and purifying purpose.

Bali is known for many things as it is a really complete destination. It has heavenly beaches and hills, wonderful culture, and delicious foods. Whatever you want to enjoy during your visit, you will most probably find it in Bali. One of the most popular traditional dance that you’ll probably see in Bali is Pendet.

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Mass Pendet dance. via I Putu Agus Cahyana Ari Putra/Travelingyuk

In fact, if you ever get a postcard with a picture of Balinese dancer in it, it is most probably pendet.  As one of the oldest traditional dance in Bali, it has undergone a lot of changes over time. However, it is still a popular one, even among tourists. Here is all you need to know about pendet.

History

Record-breaking effort. via I Putu Agus Cahyana Ari Putra/Travelingyuk

In the past, Balinese dances can be divided into two types; the sacred dances (wali) and entertainment dances (bebalihan). Pendet was originally a wali dance, a religious ritual performance. However, over time, the dance has evolved into a bebalihan one. It means that now, aside from being a religious dance, pendet is also an entertaining one too.

Performance

Pendet originally performed by young girls. via Instagram/gpophoto

Originally, pendet is performed by four or five young pre-pubescent girls. Since it was a strict wali dance, pendet stage is usually in the yards of temples in Bali. In addition, the dancers carry a bowl of flower petals in one hand. Most of the petals are cast into the air at certain times in the dance. The dancers commonly wear traditional attire, complete with a tiara like a headpiece.

Function

Women dancing together. via I Putu Agus Cahyana Ari Putra/Travelingyuk

In its purest form, pendet is a wali dance with a certain religious function. Additionally, floral offerings of the dance have a function to purify temple or other building. This purification process is also an opening for other performances or dances. Today, pendet also serves as a welcoming dance to respected guests, especially on official occasions. The flower petal part really suits the welcoming part.

Modern pendet

Young girls in Balinese attire. via Instagram/gpophoto

In modern Indonesia, pendet has become a somewhat massive dance. On 1962, I Wayan Beratha and his colleagues developed this dance into a massive one. In particular, it involved 800 people and featured in the opening ceremony of Asian Games 1962 in Jakarta. The record for most people performing pendet dance on one occasion requires lots of people. There were no less than 2,621 dancers involved in this mass dance.


Mass dance. via I Putu Agus Cahyana Ari Putra/Travelingyuk

Pendet is a wonderful dance, showcasing beautiful girls, beautiful elements (flower petal, and purifying purpose. Furthermore, the dance has evolved from strictly religious dance into a more rounded one with many performances for its entertainment value. Next

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