26 Mar   Ogoh-ogoh  26 Mar
  Ubud  
Movement   27 Mar  27 Mar 
 
 
 
 
 
Ogoh-ogoh parade
27 Mar 2017
Ogoh-ogoh parade    27 Mar 2017
  Ubud   
S M L
 
 
 
 
 

Today was one of the weirdest, funniest events l've experienced: the Nyepi day eve parade in Bali. On this day each neighborhood council, or banjar, parades its newly-made ogoh-ogoh monster around town in a ritual said to drive away evil spirits. At the end of the parade the Ogoh-ogoh is destroyed by fire. The parade of Ogoh-ogohs is accompanied by a hypnotic soundtrack of Gamelan orchestras. They play unique instruments such as metal drums hit by hammers.

Ogoh-ogoh on Jalan Sri We

I've seen plenty of parades so this sounds straightforward, think floats and musicians marching down the street with an audience held at a distance by barricades and officials. Ha. This is not that kind of parade. It's barely-controlled chaos where anyone can be in the parade and the monsters are coming from different directions, with the Gamelin adding a wonderfully pulsy trance background. Everyone, tourists and locals, some in native attire, everyone is laughing and having a great time.

The taller monsters find maneuvering a challenge in Ubud's narrow streets. The colourful demon sits high on a large bamboo lattice carried by a team of young Balinese. Clearly the builders compete for biggest and most outrageous with little thought to clearing the power lines. So some Ogoh-ogoh are accompanied by fellows with very long poles that they use to manipulate the web of overhead power lines. Yeah, power lines. Some monsters get caught in the lines so it can take a while to maneuver. (I'm told power outages are common). Once they get through a tangle of wires the crowd bursts into cheers to congratulate them.

The monsters are also tasked to rotate three times at each intersection, and this isn't a simple rotation, the large and heavy monsters swerve like an amusement car ride as they turn. At one point I got caught in a packed crowd and thought I was going to get crushed in the mass of people fleeing the swing of the monster. Ok, that was weird.

After the parade the monsters gather in a field where speeches are made. It grows dark. Finally, joined by torch-bearing girls, the Ogoh-ogohs resume their parade, but this time they are destined for their demise. And with that we all get to rest for a day since tomorrow is Nyepi, the day of silence.

With that in mind, here are a few photos from what was a very photogenic day.

 
 
 
 
Bamboo lattice holds monster  
 
 
 
 
Bamboo lattice holds monster  
 
 
 
 
Bamboo lattice holds monster  
 
 
 
A lot of fellows are needed to support an oogah oogah  
 
 
 
 
A lot of fellows are needed to support an oogah oogah  
 
 
 
 
A lot of fellows are needed to support an oogah oogah  
 
 
 
Gamelan provides the soundtrack  
 
 
 
 
Gamelan provides the soundtrack  
 
 
 
 
Gamelan provides the soundtrack  
 
 
 
 
The ogoh-ogoh is rotated counter-clockwise three times at every T-junction and crossroad. Rotating represents the contact of the bodies with the spirits and is said to bewilder and dispell evil spirits.
 
 
 
 
 
The ogoh-ogoh is rotated counter-clockwise three times at every T-junction and crossroad. Rotating represents the contact of the bodies with the spirits and is said to bewilder and dispell evil spirits.
 
 
 
 
 
The ogoh-ogoh is rotated counter-clockwise three times at every T-junction and crossroad. Rotating represents the contact of the bodies with the spirits and is said to bewilder and dispell evil spirits.
 
 
 
Great music  
 
Gamelan is the traditional ensemble music of Java and Bali. It's mostly percussive instruments, the most common being metallophones played by mallets and a set of hand-played drums called kendhang which register the beat.
 
 
 
 
Great music  
 
Gamelan is the traditional ensemble music of Java and Bali. It's mostly percussive instruments, the most common being metallophones played by mallets and a set of hand-played drums called kendhang which register the beat.
 
 
 
 
Great music  
 
Gamelan is the traditional ensemble music of Java and Bali. It's mostly percussive instruments, the most common being metallophones played by mallets and a set of hand-played drums called kendhang which register the beat.
 
 
 
Lots of colourful characters  
 
 
 
 
Lots of colourful characters  
 
 
 
 
Lots of colourful characters  
 
 
 
The main intersection in Ubud  
 
 
 
 
The main intersection in Ubud  
 
 
 
 
The main intersection in Ubud  
 
 
 
I like the streamers  
 
 
 
 
I like the streamers  
 
 
 
 
I like the streamers  
 
 
 
Reminds me of Homer Simpson  
 
 
 
 
Reminds me of Homer Simpson  
 
 
 
 
Reminds me of Homer Simpson  
 
 
 
Lifting the power lines  
 
Many ogoh-ogohs are too tall to pass under the power lines, so instead of making them shorter—that would be my solution—they lift the power lines up with tall poles. It's harder than it looks, and it can take a long time to maneuver. Plus, the ogoh-ogoh is going to come back down this street on its way out so the process is repeated. No one is in a rush, though, so it clearly doesn't matter.
 
 
 
 
Lifting the power lines  
 
Many ogoh-ogohs are too tall to pass under the power lines, so instead of making them shorter—that would be my solution—they lift the power lines up with tall poles. It's harder than it looks, and it can take a long time to maneuver. Plus, the ogoh-ogoh is going to come back down this street on its way out so the process is repeated. No one is in a rush, though, so it clearly doesn't matter.
 
 
 
 
Lifting the power lines  
 
Many ogoh-ogohs are too tall to pass under the power lines, so instead of making them shorter—that would be my solution—they lift the power lines up with tall poles. It's harder than it looks, and it can take a long time to maneuver. Plus, the ogoh-ogoh is going to come back down this street on its way out so the process is repeated. No one is in a rush, though, so it clearly doesn't matter.
 
 
 
Ogoh-ogoh  
 
 
 
 
Ogoh-ogoh  
 
 
 
 
Ogoh-ogoh  
 
 
 
Gamelan orchestra  
 
 
 
 
Gamelan orchestra  
 
 
 
 
Gamelan orchestra  
 
 
 
A small ogoh-ogoh  
 
Smaller ogoh-ogoh are built by groups of children or local artists.
 
 
 
 
A small ogoh-ogoh  
 
Smaller ogoh-ogoh are built by groups of children or local artists.
 
 
 
 
A small ogoh-ogoh  
 
Smaller ogoh-ogoh are built by groups of children or local artists.
 
 
 
Didn't see many officials  
 
 
 
 
Didn't see many officials  
 
 
 
 
Didn't see many officials  
 
 
 
Nightfall is coming  
 
 
 
 
Nightfall is coming  
 
 
 
 
Nightfall is coming  
 
 
 
I like the light  
 
 
 
 
I like the light  
 
 
 
 
I like the light  
 
 
 
Where's the parade?  
 
I found the parade route confusing and l don't think i'm the only one. A 30-year local described the route but it didn't go the way she described. She also said they change the rules periodically. For example this year they forbid styrofoam in the ogoh-ogohs because of the fumes given off when burned. (Duh!)
 
 
 
 
Where's the parade?  
 
I found the parade route confusing and l don't think i'm the only one. A 30-year local described the route but it didn't go the way she described. She also said they change the rules periodically. For example this year they forbid styrofoam in the ogoh-ogohs because of the fumes given off when burned. (Duh!)
 
 
 
 
Where's the parade?  
 
I found the parade route confusing and l don't think i'm the only one. A 30-year local described the route but it didn't go the way she described. She also said they change the rules periodically. For example this year they forbid styrofoam in the ogoh-ogohs because of the fumes given off when burned. (Duh!)
 
 
 
Gamelan orchestra  
 
 
 
 
Gamelan orchestra  
 
 
 
 
Gamelan orchestra  
 
 
 
Hypnotic musicians  
 
 
 
 
Hypnotic musicians  
 
 
 
 
Hypnotic musicians  
 
 
 
Gamelan musicians  
 
 
 
 
Gamelan musicians  
 
 
 
 
Gamelan musicians  
 
 
 
Monkey boy  
 
 
 
 
Monkey boy  
 
 
 
 
Monkey boy  
 
 
 
Great faces  
 
 
 
 
Great faces  
 
 
 
 
Great faces  
 
 
 
More great faces and colours  
 
 
 
 
More great faces and colours  
 
 
 
 
More great faces and colours  
 
 
 
The gathering in a field  
 
 
 
 
The gathering in a field  
 
 
 
 
The gathering in a field  
 
 
 
Their costumes are so colourful  
 
 
 
 
Their costumes are so colourful  
 
 
 
 
Their costumes are so colourful  
 
 
 
Torch bearers  
 
 
 
 
Torch bearers  
 
 
 
 
Torch bearers  
 
 
 
Young torch bearers  
 
 
 
 
Young torch bearers  
 
 
 
 
Young torch bearers  
 
 
 
Ogoh-ogoh lit up  
 
 
 
 
Ogoh-ogoh lit up  
 
 
 
 
Ogoh-ogoh lit up  
 
 
 
Last for the night!  
 
If you got this far congratulations, hope you enjoyed it. I wish i could accompany the photos with the music as I found it absolutely wonderful.
 
 
 
 
Last for the night!  
 
If you got this far congratulations, hope you enjoyed it. I wish i could accompany the photos with the music as I found it absolutely wonderful.
 
 
 
 
Last for the night!  
 
If you got this far congratulations, hope you enjoyed it. I wish i could accompany the photos with the music as I found it absolutely wonderful.
 
 
 
 26 Mar   Ogoh-ogoh  26 Mar
  Ubud  
Movement   27 Mar  27 Mar