What a rest!!!!… after the busyness and the excitement of the Ogoh–Ogoh parade the Nyepi day start quietly with a beautiful blue sky decorated with fluffy white clouds, surrounding the laidback village of Ubud, in the heart of Bali island, the only that follows the Hindu religion in all Indonesia.
According to the Saka calendar, the new year is commemorated with a day of silence, the Nyepi day, when all the inhabitants of the island stay at home, all shops and restaurants are closed, no one is allowed to walk or drive on the streets, the activity at home is reduced to the minimum and the lights are turned off or keep dim, there is no music, TV or radio, and even Bali’s airport is closed during 24 hours. These rules are applied to everyone that stays on the island during this day, no matter religion or nationality, and the Pecalang, a kind of civil police, patrols the streets to guarantee that these rules are respected.
But the day before Nyepi is busy and noisy with the Ogoh-ogoh parade. Statues representing demons are building by different groups in all the villages by the local population, symbolizing the evil and the bad spirits responsible for disease and misery.
The Ogoh-Ogoh are carried on a bamboo structure the streets, usually by boys and young men, parading in front of the temples, where they execute a kind of dance at the sound of the drums of the Gamelan orchestra. Between voices and shouts, the streets are filled with excitement, every time that the Ogoh-ogohs, made with foam, resin and styrofoam are lifted and carry on the shoulders.
In the end of the day, before 12 o’clock they are burned, as a ritual of purification. After this everyones return home, and start the 24 hours of silence in all Bali Island.
At home, before the Ogoh-ogoh parade, the family walk around the house shouting and making noise with metal plates, to pushing away the evil spirits, leaving behind a trace burning bamboo sticks.
The day before the Nyepi, is busy also around the temples, with the population gathering with offerings made from fruits and flowers, participating in a long and complex ceremony where the foreigners are not allowed but where the music of gamelan, traditional from Bali, is present.
The festive sarongs of the women with shiny color tops (the kebaya) and the hair decorated with flowers, the frangipani flowers that are everywhere around the island, contrast with the more sober outfit of the men, with batik dark color sarongs, white shirt and the udeng, a headband traditional in Bali.
Practical information about the Ogoh-ogoh parade in Ubud:
The Ogoh-ogoh parade and the Nyepi festival is celebrated all over Bali island.
The Ogoh-ogoh parade start around 5 p.m. but two hours before you can see the different groups (usually men and boys but also some girls) caring the demons to the ground in front of the temples. And it ends around 9 p.m. with the entire Ogoh-ogoh gathering at the ground near Monkey Forest Temple
The parade move around a few streets in Ubud, but the center of everything is the Jalan Hanoman nearby the Pura Padang Kerta, where the Ogoh-ogoh start to gather around 3 p.m.
But the festival that starts a three or four days before, with ceremonies at the temples, and more elaborated offers in front of the houses.
The foreigners are not allowed at the temples during this period, even if dressed with the traditional ceremony Balinese outfit.