Ogoh Ogoh Festival Bali

Ogoh-ogoh, the symbols of the dark force, are paraded on the streets berore finally being destroyed the evening prior to the silent day...every year the manifestation of Bhuta Kala, the dark force, is much anticipated by the Balinese people. During the Pengerupukan, a ritual held one day prior to the Silent Day – also known as Nyepi, the most important day in the Balinese calendar as the people celebrate the New Year of Saka – Bhuta Kala is represented in the monstrous dolls called ogoh-ogoh, made with an abundance of creativity and imagination by the local people, then marched on the streets before finally being destroyed by burning. This ritual is believed to send the Bhuta Kala back to its home with some offerings to keep Mother Earth in balance.

On the day of Pengerupukan, Bhuta Kala awakes during the dusk, just when the day turns to night. At this time, noise comes from every corner of the Balinese peoples houses as they make sounds by hitting gongs or kitchen pots while holding a torch and circling their houses. Then the Bhuta Kala is sent back to its home through the Tawur Kasanga ceremony, while its manifestation in the form of ogoh-ogoh is marched to catus pata (the intersection) accompanied by the sounds of lomloman (a bazooka made of bamboo) and gamelan drums. Today this ritual is known as the Ogoh-Ogoh Parade...

One month prior to Pengerupukan, Balinese youngsters start to design their ogoh-ogoh at the local banjar (village). Each of the ogoh-ogoh are thoughtfully designed based on their imagination and are very much inspired by legendary stories like folklore, black magic, and traditional puppet shows. The design are varied – some make giants with long nails and fangs, some make the manifestation of gods and goddesses or the characters of traditional puppets, while others create ogoh-ogoh based on current issues or popular figures in the pop culture. One thing is for sure, each ogoh-ogoh is made with passion, imagination and intricate details, and that explains why the ogoh-ogoh are visually wowing.

Ogoh-ogoh may actually be considered a relatively new ritual in Bali, but it has become one of the most important aspects prior to the Silent Day. In fact, it is now a tradition that completes the Silent Day ritual. And the process of making ogoh-ogoh is surely enjoyable as it takes the whole village to create one, preferably using materials that are friendly to the environment. In a way, the making of ogoh-ogoh reflects the meaning of Tri Hita Karana, the Balinese philosophy of living harmoniously with God, other humans and nature – the core principles that the Balinese hold dearly despite globalization, so that they won’t forget their true values.

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