Every Balinese new year, the village men cart out demonic Ogoh-Ogoh statues to the streets for the Ngrupuk Parade, a unique Balinese celebration vaguely reminiscent of a Macy’s Parade on acid.
Bali Ogoh-Ogoh is very identical to Nyepi Day in Bali. It can be said that Ogoh-Ogoh is the most interesting event among the series of Nyepi Ceremony.
Ogoh-Ogoh are paraded in the Pengrupukan night, which is a day before the Saka New Year or so-called Nyepi Day.
Ogoh-Ogoh whose appearance is very scary is usually paraded around the village or town by the Banjar or traditional village society which is dominated by the youth.
The name Ogoh Ogoh is derived from the Balinese “ogah-ogah”, meaning “to shake”, and it represents the Bhuta-Kala or evil spirits, vices that need to keep away from humans.
Many locals from the Banjar community will carry their Ogoh-Ogoh on the convoy, shaking it to make it look like it’s moving and dancing. Of course, different Ogoh-Ogohs have different functions, so when made to move they produce different actions.
The parade ends with countless bonfires when the laboriously designed monsters are burnt ceremonially and fall to ashes at the cemetery.
Many argue that Ogoh Ogohs have been used since the age of the ancient Balinese kingdom Dalem Bangkiang, who had been using them as an integral part of a cremation ceremony.
Others believe that the dolls were first inspired by a ritual from the village of Selat, where they had been a medium to repel the evil spirits.
The Balinese believe that bad spirits move into their monster craft works by making noise and playing instruments and can be banished by burning. It is an important act of purification for the locals to herald the new year and Nyepi, the following day.
However, these days many villages keep their Ogoh-Ogoh’s and put them in their community building to show off to the other villages. Actually, in the last years, the Ogoh-Ogoh parade is not only ceremonial, it has become a competition and tradition between villages to make the biggest, scariest and heaviest Ogoh-Ogoh!