Ogoh-ogoh Parade – 20 March 2015 2015.03.03

ogoh ogoh

If you visit the island of Bali towards the end of March, you may just find yourself walking amongst giant frightening statues in what is known as the ogoh-ogoh parade.

The festival is held every year one day before Nyepi, the all important "Day of Silence" when the whole island shuts down for 24 hours.

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Referred to locally as the "Feast of Pengerupukan", the festival is carried out to the sounds of traditional music of Bali known as Gong Baleganjur.  

Ogoh-ogoh sculptures depict the form of Bhuta Kala, which represents the five natural elements of water, fire, light, land and air.  Usually the characters are very large and creepy, and are often take the shape of a scary giant.

In addition to giants, ogoh-ogoh are also often depicted in animal form such as an elephant, lion or pig, as well as mythological creatures like dragons and eagles. More recently, popular world leaders and artists have been made into ogoh-ogoh statues, including Obama, Michael Jackson and even Justin Bieber!

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Ogoh-ogoh statues are made using iron as the main support frame for the body. Woven bamboo is then used to make the thighs and legs while cork is used for the more difficult body parts with curves such as the arms, fingers and toes.

Once the body shape has been made, it's then on to painting and decorating with items relating to each character, for example a sword or arrows.

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The month leading up to ogoh-ogoh is an opportunity to get creative for the youth of each village. It's also a chance to socialize and have some fun, and for many youngsters it's the highlight of their year. 

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On the day of the parade, all the ogoh-ogohs are gathered in the middle of the field or in front of the village hall. It's the duty of the men to lift up and carry the giant statues down the main road, while the smaller statues are carried by young boys.

Most of the village comes down to watch the parade as spectators, although some women and children also carry lit torches ahead of the ogoh ogoh.

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Not to be left out, young children sometimes make mini ogoh-ogohs like their older brothers and sisters and paint their faces to be extra scary...

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Here are our tips if you want to watch the next ogoh-ogoh parade in Bali:

  • For those wanting to travel to Bali during Nyepi, remember that the international airport is closed on Nyepi Day itself. This year, Nyepi falls on Saturday 21 March 2015. As ogoh-ogoh takes place one day before Nyepi, it's best to arrive a few days before that to check in to your hotel/villa etc.
  • Search for special Nyepi Day packages on the internet. Many hotels put together attractive packages that include meals and accommodation (sometimes even a relaxing spa treatment or two) over the 2-night Nyepi period.
  •  Try and book accommodation near to where the ogoh-ogoh parade will be taking place. In most areas, this will be along the main road. On Nyepi Day itself, the local police known as pecalang make sure that no-one is out and about on the streets or the beach.
  • Remember to enjoy the parade with mutual respect between cultures and religions. Also be aware of your personal belongings as crowds provide a good opportunity to pick-pockets.
Time 6 pm - finish
Location Main road of village
Entrance Fee None


Kura-Kura Bus Bali

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