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Women, flowers and dances

An head full of flowers carefully prepared in the shape of an headdress. Once a year the young girls of the village carry it for a whole afternoon performing a slow dance. It is called Rejang and it’s part of the Hindu traditional rites that Majapahit civilization brought to Indonesia long time ago. All these photos where captured in the villages of Karangsari and Santi in the Karangasem district of Bali, Indonesia. The Rejang ceremony is an all day event. It takes place once a year and involves a long preparation that start weeks before. Rejang dance a slow procession following an older woman which leads the many laps around the temple perimeter. Delicate, slow, oscillating with extreme grace and delicacy.

Up on the volcano slopes of Bali, being a young woman means learning to gracefully dance with your head full of flowers since young age. Parents, and the whole extended family look on. Boys, elders and the younger kids admire quietly. The very young ones carry small items and learn to gracefully balance and dance this way. The girls line up and follow each other in a long and slow display of themselves. The Pecalangs make sure that everything is running smoothly and coordinates with other using a radio.

It’s a special day and an occasion like no other. The Gamelan orchestra acoustic percussions provides the rhythm. Every village has a slightly different way of arranging dresses and head wear. The Rejang dance itself is smooth and simple and very similar from village to village. Experienced women show their style balancing burning incense and bigger offerings. The whole village is present to the ceremony and they do check out the display. While the girls laps slowly till past sunset.

Published on non-profit magazine Fumes.

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