The monsters have started appearing
in the Banjars (local communities) and meeting places all over Bali. From 30cms to 30 metres high, they are called Ogoh Ogoh and are representations of the evil and bad spirits that have congregated in Bali in the previous year. The creation of these wonderful statues is a collective effort in each Banjar and they can take many months to complete. Made with wire frames and papier mache coverings they are an astonishing art form and engineering feat. The Ogoh Ogoh come in many forms of Hindu spirits and sometimes there are representations of modern evils, one that springs to mind was a corrupt official taking a bribe.
This is the time of the Saka new year, a time to welcome a new year, by chasing away the bad of the previous year with noise and fun. In the three days preceding Nypie also expect to see the Melasti processions. Colourful pilgrimages of Balinese people walking from temples to the coast to perform purification ceremonies.
On the afternoon before Nypie all of the Ogoh Ogoh are taken to a central point carried on a bamboo platform. Here they can be admired by everyone. When the sun goes down the parades begin the huge creatures carried by up to 20 men are seen travelling down the streets. Sometimes charging at each other. Later they are burnt as a symbol of cleansing the evil from Bali.
By midnight everyone is expected to be at home, in readiness for Nypie the Day of Silence.
When I was first told that I would have to spend 24hours in my home, being as quiet as possible, no cooking, no TV, no work, no lights, just reflection and meditation I chose to leave Bali. The second year I decided to stay. Now it’s an experience I recommend to all my friends and guests.
It is the only place in the world where the airport closes as you are not allowed to leave your home……. Only emergency travel to hospitals are exempt. It is so quiet, the dogs have no one to bark at, there are no cars, planes, or motorbikes.
But the true wonder is at night when darkness falls and the sky lights up. With no natural light there are more stars than sky, just magical and a sight that I now look forward to every year.
If you want to experience this magical time when the Island stands still then book your Cool Bali Villa, stock up on goodies in the fridge, get yourself that book you’ve not had time to read and wait for the stars at night.
It’s always in March but the day changes………
2020, the Ogoh Ogoh parades will be held on the night of the 24th March with Nypie day being the 25th March.
2021 Nypie day is 14th March