Saka New Year Ritual – Expell all Evil

Bali, an island of thousand rituals, this year I visit Bali To capture Nyepi ritual to celebrate Saka New Year in hindu calendar. I missed Melasti ritual due to hard rain along the day, But I join the Ogoh-ogoh (giant statue) the day after Melasti.

Melasti as the opening ritual has important position. In Melasti, Balinese hindu cleanse all ritual items, such as pray items and the bamboo which will use In Ogoh-ogoh.
Ogoh-ogoh ritual is relatively new with it’s origins in the 80’s but this ritual is the most attractive among another Nyepi ritual, because of its extravagant performance.

This year, I witnessed Ogoh-ogoh in Legian Area. Each banjar (community) create one giant statue, so there were thirteen giant statues that represent evils which should expell before Nyepi Day.

The giant statues has extra ordinary size, around five metres high, carried by 15 to 25 adults with bamboo arrangement as stretcher.

The Banjars (communities) build the giant statues beside the road, 3-4 weeks prior to Nyepi Day. If you curious enough, the banjars allows you to witness how they create the statue, your eyes will satisfy with the intricate details, as you will amaze with how they work with dedication.

In Legian area, the statues not only paraded and burned like any other area in Bali, but also shown as property during performance. All thirteen giant statues create one series of Bhuta Kala story, the Giant Evil.

At 3 pm local time, all banjars carry their giant statues to Legian Main Street, they lined the statues as the sequence of the stories. The statues are equipped with spotlight, back sound, and some mechanical items to make rolling eyes or flapping wings, but beside the modernity, they still choose to carry with traditional way.

The performance begin at 8 pm at the main road section. Each set of performance includes one statue and perform around 30 minutes. Every performer patiently wait for their turn until the last performance at 2 am next day.

After performed, all thirteen puppets lined again in near Kuta Beach before burn, they believe that the evil who haunt human, and make human do evil things will burn along with the statue.

And as the evil vanished, human should do another thing, internal purification with fasting and meditation, which will start on 6 am on Nyepi day (Saka New Year) to 6 am after Nyepi Day.


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