Tomorrow it’s Nyepi, Balinese New Year, which means today it’s ogoh ogoh. I experienced ogoh ogoh last year while I was in Bali and today I’ll explain what it is and what my tips are if you’re planning on celebrating ogoh ogoh and Nyepi.
Ogoh ogoh is celebrated the day before Nyepi. In all villages people will go outside for a parade with many paper-mache statues, which are called ogoh ogoh. The statues, mainly resembling demons and other mythological creatures, are build on a bamboo platform which is carried by many men. The Balinese believe evil spirits are caught in these ogoh ogoh which is why they’re burned at the end of the evening. In the weeks before ogoh ogoh you see people working on the statues around the temples and practicing the routine for the parade.
We enjoyed the parade in Denpasar, the main capital of Bali, where the parade is the biggest on the island. Around 3 pm there is an official opening where a few statues are competing. This takes a long time, there aren’t a lot of statues and you’re standing in the burning sun. I suggest to skip this part and enjoy the parade in the evening which is much more enjoyable 🙂
Around 7 pm the actual parade starts where the statues are, accompanied by loud noise, carried around the streets. Some statues have lights, others even have sorts of fireworks. It’s also very cute to see small children walking around with really small ogoh ogoh.
After all the noise from ogoh ogoh the next day it’s Nyepi, a day that is celebrated in silence. People are not allowed to leave their houses, make loud noise or have their lights on. Balinese believe that this will make the evil spirits go away since they will believe the island is deserted. This days planes won’t be landing or departing from Bali and also tourists are expected to stay in their hotels with the lights off.
If you’re planning on celebrating ogoh ogoh in Denpasar, but staying somewhere else, make sure you have your transport sorted out. Taxi’s will only drive till around 3 pm. They’ll say that taxi’s are also driving at night, but there’s no way you’re going to find a taxi. We got lucky with some locals who drove us to the hotel, but make sure you have plan!