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  • Denisa Mayari

Sekaa Teruna Teruni: Young Guardians of Balinese Culture

(Image by Yayimage)


In Bali, where culture and tradition weaves its way through every aspect of daily life, the approach of Nyepi, the Day of Silence, heralds a flurry of activity and preparation. One of the most visually striking elements of this preparation is the creation and parading of the ogoh-ogoh, towering sculptures that symbolize the demons and negative energies being driven out as part of the purification process leading up to Nyepi.


What many may not realize is that behind the intricate craftsmanship of these awe-inspiring ogoh-ogoh are the skilled hands and creative minds of young adults belonging to Sekaa Teruna Teruni (STT), traditional youth organizations found throughout Bali. STT members, typically unmarried young adults aged 16 and above, play a crucial role in the months-long process of conceptualizing, designing, and constructing these elaborate sculptures, pouring their creativity, dedication, and skill into every detail.


Yet, the involvement of STT in Balinese culture extends far beyond the realm of artistic expression. These organizations serve as guardians of tradition and custodians of cultural heritage, playing a pivotal role in the preservation and promotion of Balinese customs, rituals, and arts. They actively participate in organizing religious ceremonies, preserving local crafts and performing arts, and fostering community cohesion.


The recent acknowledgment of STT's significance in Jembrana, Bali, serves as just one of many examples highlighting the vital role these organizations play in the cultural fabric of the island. The local government's allocation of funds to support STT activities serves as a testament to the importance placed on nurturing the creative talents and cultural stewardship of Bali's youth. In a symbolic ceremony, funds were ceremoniously handed over to representatives of various STT groups, further highlighting the collaborative efforts between local authorities and community organizations in preserving and promoting Balinese culture.


Moreover, the essence of STT goes beyond mere artistic endeavors; it is deeply rooted in Hindu philosophy, instilling values of duty, strength, and identity in its members. By actively engaging with STT, young Balinese individuals not only contribute to the preservation of their unique traditions but also find a sense of belonging and purpose within their communities. They embody the spirit of cultural continuity and resilience, ensuring that the younger generation remains connected to their cultural heritage amidst the rapid modernization of society.


In essence, the involvement of STT in the creation and preservation of ogoh-ogoh and other cultural activities underscores the enduring spirit of Balinese culture and the collaborative efforts of local government and community organizations to safeguard its legacy for generations to come. Through their dedication and passion, STT members embody the timeless traditions and vibrant cultural identity of Bali, ensuring that its rich heritage continues to thrive in the face of modern challenges.

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