Oogling at Ogoh Ogoh

Posted: June 6, 2011 in Bali Road Trip 2011
Tags: , ,

Weak hearted foreign visitors are taken aback and may be  shocked by it. Others with stauncher differing faiths express mixed feelings from disdain to downright fear. Kids will have nightmares. Camera happy people like me can’t get enough of Bali’s Ogoh Ogoh.  And only in Bali would you find hedious, gigantic paper, foam and plastic ‘monsters’ parading the streets till midnight as part religious cleansing ceremony, part celebrations and mostly an excuse for a good party.

A traffic stopper ogoh ogoh (back in 2003)

It happens once a year during the March or April full moon to herald in a new year,  after the most intriguing of all Balinese celebrations, where ironically nothing happens. This is the day of Nyepi or silence. 24 hours of quiet. People stay indoors, eat quietly indoors, no sounds, no conversation, no lights (except candlelight) no cooking, no frolicking  (ie, behave or abstain) and meditate. The more devout will also fast for a day.

Basically no one goes out, the streets are devoid of people and traffic. (save for emergency vehicles) This applies even to tourists and village pecalang or ‘enforcers’ make sure that the rules are strictly enforced. Out driving with no good reason ?  Your keys will be taken and you’ll have to walk home quietly. In recent years with the influx  of mass tourism,  the Balinese are dead serious about Nyepi and the airport is shut down for 24 hours. No flights in or out.

What’s the significance of all this, you ask ? Well it’s simple yet bewildering. With such silence for a day, the demons and malevolent spirits will think the island is devoid of life, and thus leave to haunt another place. Balinese demons are that naive for a day. Yet the ogoh ogoh prevail and have their boisterous street parades on the eve of Nyepi.

Welcome to Bali, misterrr

Rangda is a grotesque wicth queen that devours children like snacks

She has, to be polite, underwear and cuticle issues

2 tongues ?

Some are too detailed !

Sadly, we were not in Bali at the right time, just about a month after Nyepi. I cannot fathom 24 hours of plain doing nothing, not even with fast wifi, which in Bali is intermittent at best, but who knows one day in the future. Apparently there are even more, but sombre celebrations in the days after Nyepi and invitations have been ‘expressed and offered’ to me for the whole period  🙂

We saw the remains of Nyepi, that is the many ogoh ogoh left to flounder in village halls and street corners. Those that were not spectacular enough, did not win any best ogoh ogoh contests, and thus were not burnt at midnight.  Some were rotting and as freinds assured us, have no spirit or ‘power’ left in them.  Months of handiwork gone and it’s mind boggling that about 20,000 ogoh ogoh all over Bali are made and then torched at midnight before Nyepi.

Here's a rude one


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