The invasion by modernity living, more or less changing social and cultural conditions in Bali. However, there is one village in Bali which still preserves their antiquated culture from modern civilization; Tenganan Pegringsingan.

This ancient village located in Manggis sub district, Karangasem Regency, Bali — Indonesia (about 1,5 hour drive from Denpasar). Nowadays, Tenganan has been appointed as a tourist destination which always presents either attractive and unique shows or cultural objects which able dazzling tourists to come. Tourists are attracted to Tenganan Pegringsingan by its unique Bali Aga culture that still holds their authentic traditions, ceremonies and pristine Balinese rules, also by the village layout and architecture. Besides, Tenganan is very well-known of its Gamelan selunding music and Gringsing double ikat textiles as well.

I won’t talk about those kind of a-must-see things, actually. One matter that interest me is about their marital system and culture. As aforesaid, Tenganan Pegringsingan is known by communal village that preserved their ancient cultural practices for hundreds years. So as their marital system; they apply endogamy principle which aims to continue their family lineage so it will not be extinct. The law says: Tenganan people shall marry only with their indigenous villagers.

A couple is allowed to get married if the man has been being sekeha teruna (villagers community for men) and woman has been being sekeha deha (villagers community for women). If one of them doesn’t merge into the community yet, they will not allowed to get married.

“The villagers who break the rule because they get married with outsiders, they will receive penalties based on their mistake,” said Ketut Sudiastika, Bendesa Adat (customary leader) of Tenganan Pegringsingan.

He also said a villager man could marry an outsider woman without losing his right to live inside the village. Nonetheless, they will get sanction. They won’t be krama desa adat (villagers) anymore and start being a krama gumi pulangan community (the status is lower than krama desa adat). They are ‘banished’ and ‘thrown away’ to northern part of Banjar Pande which consists of villagers men who had married to outsiders.

Wedding Ceremony in Tenganan Courtesy of Tenganan Information Centre

The villagers women have to follow requirements in accordance with awig-awig (customary law) of Tenganan Pegringsingan. Once a villager woman breaks the rule, her parents have to pay 75,000 kepeng or traditional coins (nowadays is only IDR 17,500 every year for the rest of their life).

They won’t be allowed to stay inside the village, not allowed being sekeha deha anymore, and all of her inheritance rights and other rights will lost. “Parents will pay more moral sanctions because it considered incompetent to keep their children,” he continued. Even though this marriage called endogamy pattern, but there is a requirement limit for wife or husband candidate. Candidates should be outside of the cousin relationship from father or mother’s family.

I Wayan Suarta, an ex-villager man who now is living in Banjar Pande, said that he can’t follow any activities which are held in Tenganan. He has got married for 15 years and his wife was from Bebandem village.

Wayan Suarta

He trusty believe that someone who breaks the rule will be banished as written on customary law. “All of our activities here (Banjar Pande) are same (with Tenganan Pegringsingan) from birth to death ceremonies, even wear Gringsing on our wedding day. I only disallowed for being krama desa adat and follow its activities,” he said.

His children are also disallow to get married to Tenganan Pegringsingan villagers. “Nobody can break the strict regulations here, because the existence of ancestral traditions. Once you get married to outsiders, be ready; you just get lost of your inheritance rights,” he continued. “But everyone knows, it is so unfair if somebody forbid each other to fall in love.”

Thank you for reading, fellas!
Lots of love,