The day before Nyepi (the day of silence), the Balinese celebrate their New Year. Each village (Banjar) have been building Ogoh-Ogoh for the last couple of months. See our previous post showing the Ogoh-Ogoh statues from the villages around here. These Ogoh-Ogohs are carried through the streets for the Ngrupuk parade, culminating in the ritual burning of them all.
One of the benefits of living within a local village is that we have been able to watch their Ogoh-Ogoh being built. It was an interesting process, starting with foam blocks being shaped by cutting, shaving and filing – very detailed work. The whole process is done in a public shelter in the street so we could wander down any time to see what they were up to. When we saw the figures below, we had no idea what they had planned. The video at the end of this blog shows the final product.
Once the shape was completed, it was covered with papier-mâché as shown below. The heads and hands are often worked on separately and added right at the end.
The locals would start work on it after their day jobs, spending long hours into the night working on them. It was a real party atmosphere with a large stereo to keep them company. There is a certain age group that make them, the 20 somethings. The younger kids do separate smaller ones, while the older guys are there for advice. Oh, and did I mention it’s only the boys that do it.
The parade started in our street, with the local Ogoh Ogoh working its way around to the main street. It was a hive of activity and excitement with locals and tourists mingling around to see the finished product.
We were directed to the street to wait with the hundreds of others. The excitement was building as we waited for the parade to come. Which ones would be best, would they fall apart?
While waiting for the parade, the boys and Olive provided some entertainment.
The Ogoh Ogoh statues from around our area all joined in to form one large parade. They waited until the sun set to increase the dramatic effect of the scary creatures, with loud noises, bright lights and smoke. It was well worth the wait.
The Ogoh-ogoh are built on a base of bamboo planks to form a raft for carrying. Some of the smaller ones have castors attached to be rolled along for the younger kids. As they are carried along, the men sway the statues to create the impression that they are alive, dancing or fighting as they move along. There is also a gamelan (music band) that follows the parade, along with a line of girls holding bamboo flames for the final burning.
During the procession, the Ogoh-ogoh is rotated counter-clockwise three times at every T-junction and crossroad. This is intended to bewilder the evil spirits so that they go away and cease harming human beings. What a spectacle!
This is where we finished. The Ogoh-Ogohs were taken somewhere from here and burnt. The kids were exhausted so it was time to go home. It was so great to have been part of this New Year tradition for the Balinese. A day of quiet reflection tomorrow to recover.