The Barong dance is the classic story of good (The Barong) triumphing over evil ( The evil witch Rangda). The Barong is a large lion type creature played by two men, Rangda is the epitome of evil with long fingernails and droopy breasts. The Barong is going about his business until he is interrupted by Rangda. Ultimately a battle ensues and the Barong’s followers begin attacking Rangda with their Keris (daggers). Rangda,
being a witch, is able to use magical powers to turn the daggers against their owners, who fall into a trance and try to stab themselves.
In Balinese dance the movement is closely associated with the rhythms produced by the gamelan, a musical ensemble specific to Java and Bali. Multiple levels of articulations in the face, eyes, hands, arms, hips, and feet are coordinated to reflect layers of percussive sounds.
The Barong dance is performed when there is illness or misfortune in the village and there is therefore intended to dispel this "evil forces". People gather together at the mortuary temple, Pura Dalem. Women
are carrying the offerings. At the temple beautiful umbrellas are used. If illness or adversity prevails in the village, the dance is performed. Evil spirits and demons come from the direction of the sea to the village.
By replaying the story of the widow Rangda and Barong again, the harmony is confirmed in the cosmos.
The fight will end undecided.
In every part of the island of Bali residents ask the spirit to protect the land and forests. There are different types Barongs. The name of the dance depends on the mask, the Barong, the main character wears. The Barong is defined in each different region as a different animal:
a wild pig
The Barong is a figure which is used to expel evil.
The Barong is usually played by two men, wearing a creepy mask lion. He rattles constantly from his mouth and embodies the good. His opponent is the wicked witch Rangda with frightening eyes and hair. The dance is meant to dispel evil.
There's not a good explanation of the meaning of the word Barong. However, the Barong has a second name, namely Banaspati Raja (King of the jungle). The classic Barong is the Barong Keket. This does not correspond to any animal.
Besides, there are two other forms: Barong Berutuk (young men, wrapped in banana leaves with a mask) and Barung Landung (two giant puppets, performing a dialogue and singing folk songs).
The story goes that Rangda, the mother of Erlangga, the King of Bali in the tenth century, was condemned by Erlangga's father because she practiced black magic. After she became a widow, she summoned all the evil spirits in the jungle, the leaks and the demons, to come after Erlangga. A fight occurred, but she and her black magic troops were too strong that Erlangga had to ask for the help of Barong. Barong came with Erlangga's soldiers, and fight ensued. Rangda casted a spell that made Erlangga soldiers all wanted to kill themselves, pointing their poisoned keris into their own stomachs and chests. Barong casted a spell that turned their body resistant to the sharp keris. At the end, Barong won, and Rangda ran away.
About the origin of the Barong people don't agree. There are several legends about it, I will tell you two versions:
1) The first Barong version, where we known a little about, is related to Bedulu, which was probably the capital of Bali. The gods ordered the people to make a Barong to free the island of the plague.
On Galungan (the largest Balinese holiday) the Barong had to go around to receive offerings and money.
2) In another story, the Barong is connected to the demon Jero Gede 'Mecaling. This demon came like a Barong with his followers to destroy everything on Bali. A priest said that only a similar Barong with followers could dislodge them. This was done and the Barong could therefore be used to chase sickness and evil forces away.