Have you ever wondered how it can rain when the sun is shining? Whilst science has its explanations, Balinese folklore has its very own colourful story behind this phenomenon.
We all have heard some strange answers as to why it happens. One popular saying, with southern United States origins, indicates the devil is ‘kissing his wife’ or ‘beating his grandmother’ when the peculiar phenomenon occurs. In Japan, it’s known as a fox’s wedding day. Whilst the scientific reasoning elucidates these ‘sun showers’ to be a meteorological event, the Balinese believes in a more insidious implication.
In traditional Bali belief, when rainfall is accompanied by hot sunshine, children are strictly told to stay inside. This is because it is believed that a demon is giving birth somewhere. More commonly, however, you would hear the Balinese use the folkloric name ‘Hujan Memedi’, which is the rain of the spirit Memedi who is said to be fond of kidnapping young children and keeping them as their play-things. Some also say the rain of Memedi signifies droplets of the spirit’s hellish tears, hence people stay under covers as to avoid any contact with these demonic droplets! Science, on the other hand, has more rational explanations: acid raid.
The apparition resembles a human with tanned skin and a grotesque and is believed to inhabit bushes, trees, or large rocks. The term widely associated with the spirit is ‘krebang Memedi’, meaning to be hidden or kept by Memedi. Many cases of children disappearances are blamed on the fabled being.
In traditional Balinese folklore it is also believed that if a child gets caught by this supernatural being, the only way to retrieve the missing person is for residents of the village to beat their musical instruments in a crowd, as a way to invite the child back into this realm.
People still believe Hujan Memedi can be the cause of mishaps and illnesses, to which no remedy is available but to avoid direct contact at all cost! The rain often goes undetected, as the sunlight tends to manipulate the appearance of overcast clouds, and for this reason, the Balinese cannot anticipate rain especially prior to ceremonies, consequently, seen as a stroke of bad luck.