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"Makepung" Bali Buffalo races

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Makepung, literally means ‘chasing around’ in Bahasa. It’s a tradition of bull racing which has been passed through generations in Bali’s society, specifically in Jembrana. It started of as race between farmers during their spare time when they were plowing the field in the harvest season. At that time, they compete to race for goals using a cart tied up to the bull which controlled by a jockey. It then begun to evolved and draws more attention to the people.

Today, the Makepung has become one of the most interesting and viewed attraction for local tourist as well as foreign. It also become an annual agenda in Bali, thus professionally managed.
Makepung participants weren’t limited to farmers only. Employees and businessman are welcomed to participate or merely being the spectatres. In big races such as the Governor’s Cup, the amount of participants could extend up to 300 pairs of bull and even more. The atmosphere gets to be livelier with the jegog player (a Balinese musical instrument made from bamboo) doing what they do best.

Negara isn’t the only place in Bali where you can see a buffalo race / makepung. The sport is popular in Lovina, to be exact, in the village of Kaliasem. The tradition originated in Madura, is NE Java. Settlers brought it to both Kaliasem and Negara. Known locally as sapi gerumbugan, the races take place at the race in Kaliasem on particular afternoons.

Indonesian Independence Day, August 17th is the time to see the most elaborate races. As in Negara, a driver guides teams of buffalo, which are decked out in colorful regalia, sporting a large bell. Sometimes tourists get a chance to drive and this is a great experience for your vacation.


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