Mar 23

Ogoh-Ogoh Ganesh at Bali Nyepi 2012It’s this time in Bali again, the beginning of the New Year 1934 following the Hindu calendar.

This is celebrated with a parade of paper mache Ogoh-Ogoh monsters followed by a day of silence.

During Nyepi Day, noise and light pollution have to be avoided, to not make the monsters, demons and ghosts flying over the island to be alerted, so they can continue their journey towards other islands and not bring their evil to Bali’s inhabitants.

As every other year, for tourists and locals alike, the Ogoh-Ogoh parade is the hightlight of the Nyepi ceremonies and this year was no different. Maybe it was even more welcomed this year, as it was a bright, sunny day after weeks of rain during the end of the rainy season. And what nice Ogoh-Ogoh we could see this year!

Multi Character Sculpture, Bali Nyepi 2012The streets on the eve before Nyepi were filled with people, Ogoh-Ogoh were being carried from all Banjar areas towards the center of Denpasar (Lapangan Puputan Badung), where the annual Ogoh-Ogoh parade is held. On their way there, the sculptures are rotated at every junction or intersection as a form of purification and to confuse the spirits who try to possess and influence the bodies of the mortals.

This year it seemed, there was a refocussing on tradition and mythology, as most Ogoh-Ogoh I saw didn’t depict the more modern forms like rock stars, politicians and punks, but the characters of the Hindu Sanskrit epics Mahabharata and Ramayana.

Of course there were the occasional representations of bad influences in the eyes of the Balinese, like bare-breasted or beer-bottle-swinging tourists (‘Bule’) as Ogoh-Ogoh sculptures, rock punks or even the bicycling youth.

Topless Bule Tourist and Bali Bar Girl Ogoh-OgohI also noticed that many traditional female Ogoh-Ogoh this year came with huge naked breasts.

All in all the celebrations were very colorful and even more playful, with firecrackers released until late into the night and Bali’s youth roaming the street until the early morning hours.

Maybe that was due to the latest successes averting evil and harm from the island. As you may have heard, just last week, Bali could avoid another chapter of tragedy, when 5 potential terrorists were apprehended and killed during their preparations for new attacks on Night Clubs, Resorts and Money Changers.

To help with the aversion of evil, I managed to shoot a good number of 80 Ogoh-Ogoh in just under 3 hours around Kerobokan, Batubelig and Denpasar, of course only with my camera.

Head over to this album to see the 80 images of the whole bodycount in its full gore and glory.

If you are interested in more Ogoh-Ogoh pics and tales, here and here are the articles of previous years.

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written by Chris

One Response to “How many Ogoh-Ogoh did you shoot? (Bali Nyepi 2012)”

  1. AngelinaNo Gravatar HONG KONG Says:

    Hi Chris! Apologies for the non sequitur, but I figured it might be easier to catch you on a recent post :) First, I really, really enjoy your blog–and living vicariously through it–so thank you for your effort!

    Second, I was hoping you might be able to offer some advice for a first-timer to the Philippines. I fly into Manila on April 28 and out on May 6–and what happens in between those dates is completely up in the air. After a fair amount of research, I think I’m okay to skip Manila and head directly to the next place…but where that will be is the question! I’m afraid this may be my only trip to the country, so I just wanted to see, if you had such a short amount of time there, what would you recommend to see/do?

    If it helps narrow it down–I don’t really care about nightlife, boozing or packing in a million places. I would love to take in some beautiful beach(es), but I’d also liken to explore some other forms of nature–either by hiking, cycling or motorbiking. Getting to see cool animals is a definite plus (not particular on whether it’s mammal or marine life)–and good food is a must (even if that just means fresh fish on the bbq). I don’t care about luxury, but clean, comfortable and quiet are musts–and my budget is mid to low range.

    I realize you’re not a travel agent, but I would be so grateful if you had a few insights! I’m thinking Bohol probably ticks off the most boxes…but then there is the question of what area(s) to stay there!

    Thanks again,

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