Ogoh Ogoh Parade 2018 in Bali

Balinese New Year: How terrifying monster dolls protect the Balinese from bad spirits!

Ogoh Ogoh Parade and Nyepi Day (Silence Day) in March 2018

Due to a different calendar system in Bali, New Year‘s Eve takes place every year around March. In 2018 it is the 16th of March, one day before Nyepi, which is the Silent Day. This is the day where everything in Bali is closed (restaurants, shops, even the airport). You are not allowed to go out on the street. Read everything you need to know about Nyepi (Silence Day in Bali)! Before that day Balinese people celebrate Ngrupuk Parade – also known as the ‘Ogoh Ogoh’ Parade. This is a huge Hindu festivity all over Bali. The locals are roaming through the streets, carrying great ‘Ogoh Ogohs’, playing drums, pushing gongs and holding torches. An immersive experience in Bali you won’t ever forget!

Ogoh Ogoh Parade Bali before Nyepi Silence Day

What is ‘Ogoh Ogoh’?

The most stunning highlight of Ngrupuk is probably the Ogoh Ogohs. These are giant monster dolls made of light materials: Wood, bamboo, paper, and styrofoam. They are carried on bamboo platforms through the Ogoh Ogoh Parade. They take the shape of mythological, evil creatures and gods to represent negative aspects of living things and criticise society and its latest issues. The name itself comes from ‘ogah ogah’, the Balinese word for ‘shaken’. The scary artworks are indeed shaken when carried through the streets and almost seem to move, dance and come to live. Ogoh Ogoh monsters often have multiple heads and arms and carry swords or pitchforks. Some of them also include modern elements like motorcycles or surfboards! In 2015, there even was a bold pink god with high heels and selfie stick, criticising today’s trend of superficial self-staging.

ogoh ogoh kadocollection
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Come on baby, light my Ogoh Ogoh!

Ogoh Ogoh Parade ends with countless bonfires, when the laboriously designed monsters are burnt ceremonially and fall to ashes. The key question that might be burning on your mind like Ogoh Ogohs in the dusk, is probably asking ‘why’! Unfortunately there is no clear evidence. Many argue that Ogoh Ogohs have been used since the age of the ancient Balinese kingdom Dalem Bangkiang, who had been using them as integral part in 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. You love to find out more about Balinese culture and traditions? 

Ogoh Ogoh Parade 2018

Where to see the Ogoh Ogoh Parade?

Since there is not only one big parade but various parades in Bali each village will host and build their own Ogoh Ogoh Parade. The Banjars (those are the small communities of every village in Bali) will usually make their way to the respective main street. Some of the most impressive Ogoh Ogohs are paraded at the Puputan Square in Denpasar. The monsters there do not only come in great artistic shape and giant size, but also with colorful lighting or motorized for even more drama. On top of that, a performance act of dancers, traditional music and a story teller, narrating the tales of the demons, round the whole event off. What are you waiting for? Simply ask your local host to tell you where the next Ogoh Ogoh parade is! 

Where to stay during Nyepi

Prepare yourself for Neypi (Silence Day): Everything you need to know!

Want to see the best Ogoh Ogoh Parade shown by locals and learn more about the culture on Neypi (Silence Day)? Check out Local Super Hosts! 


Thanks a million to the stunning photographers

@ctchee, @daynaswitenia, @kadocollection, @mayun_srimala, @palmabedbreakfast, @moganphotography, @mynamelilis

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