Nyepi and the Ogoh Ogoh’s

It is a perfect day for disposing of evil spirits. The sky is clear and the air is clean and fresh. I have decided to stop for a bite to eat at the Atman, what I have come to think of as my own personal cafe, and then make my way to the soccer field to watch the ogoh ogoh’s gather. I am delighted to find that Yvonne, my friend from Holland, is here. I join her and soon discover that the parade is to pass directly in front of this restaurant. We have ring-side seats. It isn’t scheduled to start for several hours but we don’t care. The food and beverages here are to-die-for and there are always interesting people to meet. Soon we’re joined by Jen, a writer from New York, and the three of us delve into deep philosophical conversation. I’m quite serious! It was wonderful.

But back to the evil spirits. The activity in the street in front of the cafe suddenly takes on a different energy. We can hear the sounds of shouting and banging coming toward us. Our diligent waiting is rewarded. One by one the vile monsters pass by.



The pole the man is carrying is to lift the electrical wires that cross the streets over the head of this very tall ogoh ogoh!

The streets are teeming with people and ogoh ogoh’s. The parade is headed toward the cemetery where a wild ceremony of singing and drumming and shouting will commence while the handlers of the monsters will make them dip and sway and appear to be on the attack. This is all for the benefit of the evil spirits who are attracted to the noise and commotion. After dark, when the evil has entered these monsters and the island has been cleansed, the ogoh ogoh’s are burned.

The parade has come to a halt and these musicians are resting their drums and their legs in preparation for the long night ahead.

Following this night of revelry is Nyepi, the Balinese New Year. Everything shuts down, including electricity. It is a day for meditation and self-reflection. People are not allowed in the streets. The shops are closed. There is no cooking, no television, and no work. The staff here at my Homestay were busy preparing food today for tomorrow since we still need to eat but no cooking can be done. The belief is that if any of the spirits survived and they come looking for mischief, there will be nothing to find. All will be silent and still. Evil spirits are attracted to noise so if there is no noise the spirits think there is no one here and they leave. It’s a great plan, don’t you think?

Here are my Nyepi buddies. Author and writing coach, Jen Sincero, is the lady in red. Yvonne Hart, a soon-to-be-author and Organizational Psychologist in the center, and yours, most truly and sincerely, me. We bid farewell and I head home to gear up for a night of ogoh ogoh dreams and day of silence, soul-searching, and meditation.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Komang Subagia
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 08:22:26

    thank you for visited us…



  2. Jane
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 18:28:26

    Sherry, I am really enjoying your blog! I check my mailbox everyday, and I am thrilled to find a new post. Your descriptions are so vivid, I imagine myself in Bali with you for a few minutes eeryday. It sounds like a wonderful trip. I hope your getting that novel written, because I will be waiting to read it. Much love, Jane



  3. Nancy Strauss
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 19:04:10

    Sherry – Your blog motivates me to check my email more regularly than I ever thought possible! Both the pictures & descriptions are powerfully vivid & lush. My thoughts drift to the images during my daily activities and find a constantly renewed sense of hope as the grass turns green, leaves on the bushes & trees begin to open, and the magnolia tree in the back yard has flower buds that are ready to burst. It’s almost surreal that it’s March 22nd! Am looking forward to hearing about your day of meditation.
    Love, Nancy



  4. Diane Struble
    Mar 23, 2012 @ 00:52:27

    What fun. Loved the ogah ogahs. Art objects worth a celebration though I know it is not about art. Nice to know that the eveil spirits will be gone. Wish it was that easy here.



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