Omed-Omedan 2015.04.03

omed omedan

Once a year, youngsters in a certain village in Bali have a valid excuse to kiss members of the opposite sex. Known as Omed-omedan, the "kissing ritual" is held the day after Nyepi, (Balinese New Year) in Banjar Kaja Sesetan Village in South Denpasar.

Unmarried men and women aged between 17 to 30 years of age participate in this unique tradition which has been around for about 100 years. Before the event takes place, prayers are said to invoke safety and ensure smooth running of the procession.


Omed-omedan is one of the highlights of the year and attracts hundreds of spectators both young and old alike. The local pecalang (community guards) come out to keep an eye on things, although the whole affair is a light-hearted and fun one.

You may not find too many tourists at Omed-omedan, mainly because first-time visitors don't know about it, however everyone is more than welcome.


Before the event begins, participants run through the location and get thrown with water, just as a warm up to the actual tradition. Then men and women are randomly selected to participate in the event. In order to take part, they must be willing to kiss a member of the opposite sex.

They are divided into two groups (men and women) and position themselves on the main street in the village, facing each other.


At the signal of the village elders, the two groups walk towards each other and male participants must pull and kiss female participants (if they're willing!), while the villagers throw buckets of water over them.


 Usually both participants don't mind embracing, if not for the sake of entertaining the crowd...


 ... however it may be that the girl is not all that keen on locking lips with the guy, in which case they will simply hug.


It's not as easy as it looks though, as the spectators pull the participants away from each other (the word omed-omedan is Balinese for "pull-pull").

The festival has several functions, including a show of respect for ancestors and also bringing the community together.  It can also be seen as the perfect way for singles to meet and many relationships have started in this unique way.

Should you happen to be in Bali over the Nyepi period and would like to experience Omed-omedan first hand, take Kura-Kura Bus to DFS Bus Bay and then take a 15-minute taxi ride to Sesetan:

Kura-Kura Bus Bali


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