The Ondel-ondel are large puppets that belong to the Betawi folk culture and have their roots in Indonesia’s animistic past. They were originally known as Barongan and used to be taken from village to village to fend off evil spirits. The original puppets had fearsome faces, not unlike the Balinese Barong.
After Indonesia became independent the look of the Ondel-ondel and the role they played in society changed. Gone were the fangs and bulging eyes and instead of warding-off evil spirits they became slightly comical figures of entertainment appearing at festivals and welcoming ceremonies.
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