Ogoh-Ogoh Parades in Bali

Nyepi will soon be upon us (5th March) and already you will notice, if you have been walking around the backstreets, the Balinese busy making their effigies for the parade. A lot of tourists plan their holiday so that they avoid the ‘day of silence’; Nyepi. It’s understandable because it is the day when they are not allowed out of their hotel or the place they are staying at and must avoid using rowdy noise or even lighting. So in effect, tourists see this a day out of their holidays.

However, the night before Nyepi (and the day after) are great times to be in Bali and especially tonight because it is a night of wild revelry on the streets of Kuta/Legian and in fact, all over Bali. Over the past month or so the Balinese from the local banjars have been constructing large ogoh-ogoh floats or huge Papier Mâchè effigies.

On the night before Nyepi these Ogoh Ogoh are proudly paraded through the streets and is quite a spectacle and one not to be missed. The ogoh ogoh’s are carried on bamboo platforms by young guys, who often are a little tipsy after drinking arak. At streetside a panel of banjar judges, give points to the best ogoh ogoh.

Seeing the Ogoh-Ogoh parades is quite a spectacle. At one time they used to parade down Jalan Legian in Kuta. Last year they decided against this and turned down Jalan Benesari. However, this year Jalan Uluwatu I in Jimbaran will be closed to all traffic on Friday, March 4, 2011, to allow a massive Ogoh Ogoh and baleganjur orchestra parade and competition on the day before the Bali-Hindu New Year celebration of Nyepi according to an article in the Bali Discovery.

So, if you are in Bali for Nyepi then treat this day as one of your lay-days when you chill-out and relax around the pool or have a few drinks with friends.