Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ogoh Ogoh

Our first full day in Ubud exploring included sitting on the side of the street and watching the parade that happens on the Eve of Nyepi every year.  This is Bali's main celebration for the year and the fact that we were here for it was pretty awesome and fun to experience!
What is this parade and it's significance?  Well here is a clip from Wikipedia to explain....
Ogoh-ogoh are statues built for the Ngrupuk parade, which takes place on the eve of Nyepi day in Bali, Indonesia. Ogoh-ogoh normally have form of mythological beings, mostly demons. As with many creative endeavours based on Balinese Hinduism, the creation of Ogoh-ogoh represents spiritual aims inspired by Hindu philosophy.[1][2]
The main purpose of the making of Ogoh-ogoh is the purification of the natural environment of any spiritual pollutants emitted from the activities of living beings (especially humans). The forms of Ogoh-ogoh represent the Bhuta-Kala (Bhuta: eternal energy, Kala: eternal time), according to Hindu teachings. The imperceptible potentials of nature cannot be thoroughly explored by anyone. Philosophically, civilized men are required to manage the natural resources without damaging the environment itself.
An Ogoh-ogoh is usually made of styrofoam (this is a new tradition) and stand on a pad built of timber planks and bamboos. The pad is designed to sustain the Ogoh-ogoh while it is being lifted and carried around the village or the town square. There are normally eight or more men or even young boys carrying the Ogoh-ogoh on their shoulders. This procession is accompanied by orchestral music performed by the youth.
Before we left for Bali we started researching this parade and wondered if the scary creatures would not only scare away spiritual pollutants but also scare away our kids so we headed out for the day knowing this could potentially not go well for us.
In Ubud, the neighboring communities walk down the main street in Ubud with their floats and then all of the communities gather in the big soccer field at the edge of downtown Ubud.  Here, everyone gathers until the main float of the evening starts.
This gave us a chance to walk around and see some of the statues upclose!

I was even able to bride our kids with ice cream for a picture next to a float!! : )

It was a neat experience to walk around and see these little kids excited about the parade and their chance to carry their community's float during this special event!

I also enjoyed seeing the street food carts and watching how another culture/ country celebrates an important holiday!
After exploring the soccer field festivities, we headed back up to the main intersection in Ubud to watch the evening parade!

Some of the floats were so tall that a couple of men walked along side the float with large sticks used to hold up trees and power wires so the ogoh ogoh could pass through!

If I were to go to Ubud again for Ogoh Ogoh or advise anyone traveling to Ubud at this time, I would suggest NOT getting a curbside seat for the parade.  It is pure chaos, so much so that  it is hard to watch the parade and enjoy it when you are bracing yourself from the push of the crowd and worried about your young kids.  I would go early, get a curbside table at a restaurant on Monkey Forrest Road and watch the parade from my seat!  The main intersection gets SO full of people and no one cares that you have been sitting there for an hour to get a great view for your kids that they then stand RIGHT in front of and end up stepping back on your kids when the BIG floats try to pass through.  So, get a seat up high and watch with a good, peaceful view!
With that being said, the curbside view was perfect for the kids as the communities came by one at a time to head to the soccer field.  It wasn't crowded as half of the people were at the field.  It wasn't until the main parade started when people left the field and filled the streets that the craziness started!
Seeing the floats lite up at night was impressive!  I'm so glad we got to experience this float during the day and at night!
See the masses of people in the street?!?!  Nuts!   So, after about 20 minutes of crazy, we decided to head out!  We had seen them all!  We are also newbies on our scooters and wanted to make it home in one piece before the streets got too crowded and we didn't feel comfortable to drive home!
Good Night Ubud!!!  Thanks for an amazing day!

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