Bhuta Rajna – the Balinese equivalent of Halloween, when huge demon statues called ogoh-ogohs are paraded through the streets. Everybody joins in by beating pots and tin cans, honking vehicle horns, and whatever else they can think of to make as much noise as possible. The idea is to confuse the evil spirits said to be arriving the following day. Viewing the Ngrupuk parade is an incredible experience. Definitely a must if you are lucky enough to be in Bali on that day.
The ogoh-ogohs are made from various materials such as bamboo, paper, and styrofoam. Lightweight materials are deliberately used so the figures can be easily lifted and paraded. You wouldn’t believe what the Balinese can create with such simple materials. The common shapes are scary giants, mythological creatures, and animals. But modern versions of ogoh-ogoh also take shape of popular figures like Obama and Michael Jackson. The craftsmanship and level of details that go into these 3-5 meters-high creations are so unbelievable, you simply have to see it to believe it.
It’s almost heartbreaking to see such amazing creations being burned down to ashes at the end of the day. However, since the ogoh-ogoh is believed to represent the negative human traits, they have to be banished. No worries, though. More amazing creations will surely make an appearance next year.
Tips on Viewing the Nyepi Parade:
- Parades usually start around 6 pm, and will pass along the main roads. So if you would like to see it in the comfort of your own hotel room, book a hotel along the main road and request a room facing the main road.
- As with any other parades, there will be a significant crowd of people. If you choose watch the parade from the street, be aware of pickpockets and make sure the family stay close together.
- Flares are often used during the parade, so make sure to stay out of the way
- The ogoh-ogoh figures are really quite scary, and combined with all the noise and excitement can be too much for younger kids. You might want to view the parade from a point not far from where you are staying, so it’s easy to make your way back if you need to do so.
- If you’re up for it, you can go to Puputan Park in Denpasar to see the Ogoh-ogoh Festival where the best ogoh-ogohs selected from the various regions in Denpasar are paraded in the park in front a team of judges before going out to the streets. Do be aware that traffic will be very heavy just about everywhere with parades going on in the different villages.
- If you are staying in Kuta, Legian or Seminyak, Jl. Legian is the place to go. It will be packed but the Ogoh-ogoh are usually fantastic to watch there.
- Nusa Dua, Jimbaran, Sanur and Ubud also hold pretty excellent displays of Ogoh-ogoh so wherever you are, you won’t miss out!