Nyepi, a Hindu celebration, is celebrated mainly in Bali on the last day of the Balinese calendar, although it is a public holiday everywhere in Indonesia.
From 6am to 6am the next day no-one is supposed to engage in any activities. No entertainment, no electricity, no work, no travel and for some even no talking and food.
It’s a day reserved for self-reflection.But Nyepi has another, more interesting purpose. The night before Nyepi, the Balinese ride a number of Ogoh-Ogohs through the streets, accompanied by loud orchestral music. These are skillfully crafted monsters, mostly build by youth organizations. Each village typically build one Ogoh Ogoh.
The Ogoh-ogohs are standing on a pad built of bamboo, that sustains it while it’s lifted and carried by eight or more men (or boys) through the village. The idea behind this ritual is to scare away the evil spirits from the island. The Ogoh-Ogohs do look very scary, so I can imagine some spirits would certainly get frightened.
Before the parade starts, all the Ogoh Ogohs are showcased at the town square, providing an opportunity for locals and tourists to take a good look at them and take pictures.
The next day, during Nyepi, people are supposed to be quiet so that the evil spirits will think the island is deserted. With no humans left to haunt, the spirits will move elsewhere. I guess it’s assumed that they do return at some point as the ritual is a yearly event.
If you want to experience this cultural event yourself, I recommend going to Ubud. The Balinese New Year falls on a different date each year, so make sure to check this before you head over.
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