Meet the Ogoh-Ogoh, Stars of Bali’s Bizarre and Beautiful New Year’s Eve Celebration

Photo: Jan Glenn/Coconuts Media
Photo: Jan Glenn/Coconuts Media

On Thursday, Ngurah Rai Airport will shut down for 24 hours in observation of Nyepi, the Balinese new year’s day. The internet will be blocked island-wide, the shops will close, and the people of Bali will retreat indoors in silent contemplation.

But before that happens, 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.

For months in the local community centers (or banjar), the hammering of construction has mingled from sunup to sunset with the sounds of traditional Balinese music. If, like me, you happen to live nearby one, it’s probably got you pumped for some silence — but for visitors, it’s an unforgettable night.

The finishing touches are just now being placed on this year’s crop of street monsters, which range from inspirational to downright creepy. On Wednesday, each neighborhood will march their monsters through town on the shoulders of the local men before ritually burning them in a nearby cemetery as a symbol of purification.

Here’s a look at some of the great, weird, and wondrous Ogoh-Ogoh that have been built for this year’s Nyepi.


 

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