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What Makes The Scary Ogoh-Ogoh Brings Excitement For Balinese?

Bali Ogoh-Ogoh is very identical with Nyepi Day in Bali.

It can be said that ogoh ogoh is the most interesting event among the series of Nyepi Ceremony. Ogoh ogoh are paraded in the Pengrupukan night, which is a day before the Saka New Year or so called Nyepi Day.

Ogoh-ogoh whose appearance is very scary is usually paraded around the village or town by the Banjar or traditional village society which is dominated by the youth.

Ogoh-ogoh are statues built for the Ngrupuk parade, which takes place on the eve of Nyepi day in BaliIndonesia. Ogoh-ogoh normally take the 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.

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.

During the procession, the Ogoh-ogoh is rotated counter-clockwise three times. This act is done at every T-junction and crossroad of the village. Rotating the effigies during the cremational parade and the eve of Nyepi represents the contact of the bodies with the spirits. It is intended to bewilder the evil spirits so that they go away and cease harming human beings. The Ogoh-ogoh is a very recent addition to the Nyepi ceremonies, first appearing in Denpasar in the early 1980s. At that time, they were carefully monitored for any criticism of the Suharto regime.

Similar to checking out the floats before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, Ogoh-ogoh statues can be viewed sprouting from the villages 3-4 weeks prior to Nyepi. During this time, you can see the Ogoh-ogoh in the final phases of construction.  Going around to the different Banjars (communities) to see all the creative designs and witness the dedication that goes into the statue construction will boost the overall experience. The youth in every Banjars are always very excited when nyepi’s day is going to come.

They are very excited because there will be time to gathered together with their friends to creating the Ogoh Ogoh which also can be symbolism of pride among the youth generation. The youth in every banjar will try brings up the best idea of creating the ogoh ogoh so they will catch up the public attention. The excitement is just not come from the youth but also every people in Bali. Ogoh ogoh is parade that they are waiting each year to be watch of because its bring joy and happiness towards the society of Hindu or Bali in specific.

The name ogoh ogoh is taken from Balinese “ogah-ogah” which means something which is shaken. In fact, when ogoh-ogoh is paraded around it is always shaken by the carriers of ogoh ogoh to make it looks like moving or dancing. Besides that, the pose of one ogoh-ogoh to the others is different and various, so each will have different moves when it is shaken. Even, now with the development of technology, many ogoh-ogoh can be moved assisted by machine or other tools. There are so many version of ogoh ogoh history in Bali. Some people argued that ogoh-ogoh have been known since the era of Dalem Balingkang (ancient Balinese kingdom). At that time, ogoh-ogoh is used in the procession of Pitra Yadnya or so called Ngaben. There is also another argument stated that the existence of ogoh-ogoh is inspired by the tradition Ngusaba Ndong-Nding from Selat Village, Karangasem which also used a similar figure to repel evil spirit.

Usually, before the Pengrupukan night, an ogoh-ogoh festival will be held in Puputan Park Denpasar. Ogoh-ogoh which could enter into this event are selected from some region of Denpasar. This event is hold to honor and appreciate the creation of ogoh-ogoh which possesses high art and theme value. Ogoh ogoh which are entered this festival are not haphazardly taken, because they have been undergone a selection process. These ogoh-ogoh must have high value of art, theme, and entertainment.

Ogoh ogoh festival in Puputan is usually held a few hours before Sandi Kala or evening. After the festival overs, Pengrupukan night is continued with ogoh ogoh parade from villages or banjar around the area of Denpasar. In other regencies beside Denpasar like Gianyar, Tabanan, or Buleleng, ogoh ogoh festival is also periodically held. However, sometimes the festival is not done in Pengrupukan, but in particular events such as Town Anniversary, and so on.

Recently there are two ogoh ogoh that catch a lot of attention in Denpasar. These ogoh – ogoh are coming from Banjar Tain siat and Gemeh. Peoples in Bali are always wait for these banjar’s idea for their ogoh ogoh, because they always bring new innovation every year towards their ogoh ogoh. Peoples especially the youth are always compared these two banjar when its come to ogoh ogoh and it will be inspiration for youth around Bali for their ogoh ogoh in the next year. This year, Banjar Tain siat brings up the idea of “Kepet Agung”.

Ogoh-ogoh Kepet Agung stands proudly with a towering height of about 8 meters, looking futuristic with a fan resembling a moving wing behind it. “Kepet Agung means a big fan, its philosophy is to provide coolness,” said Komang Gede Sentana Putra alias Kedux Garage, the drafter of Ogoh-ogoh Kepet Agung, met Wednesday (2/3/2022) afternoon. Kedux said the fan philosophy was based on the situation leading up to Nyepi this year, which was full of uncertainty regarding whether or not the ogoh-ogoh parade was allowed, which made the public, especially the yowana confused. “I brought up this theme with the hope that the community will get a breath of fresh air. Because behind the making of this ogoh-ogoh there was confusion, because it’s okay to do it or not,” said Kedux.

“With this Kepet Agung, I hope that information from the center (government) will be clearer, firmer, and provide fresh air for the community or young women in Bali.”Kepet Agung, said Kedux, was made for about 1 month. Made with environmentally friendly materials, but inside it is equipped with hydraulic technology that will make the ogoh-ogoh look like they are moving during the procession. “My message is people in Bali, so that the ogoh-ogoh procession can be maintained by the crowd, so that the transmission of (Covid-19) does not occur and so that in the future we can again carry out crowd cultural activities,” said Kedux who also known proficiently as a modified motorcycle builder.

Meanwhile, the Ogoh-ogoh Pasung Maya whose concept was created by the Banjar Gemeh artist, Marmar Herayukti, looks unique because the ogoh-ogoh’s neck is cut off without a head, while around it many heads seem to surround the ogoh-ogoh. Marmar said, Pasung Maya was based on the story of Maya Raksa, nicknamed Prabu Sastrapisuna who controlled the virtual world (not real). It is said that Maya Raksa really wants to expand her power in the real world. Maya Raksa went through asceticism for years until finally she was bestowed with a supernatural power that was able to manipulate every reality, pulling her into the virtual world.

Slowly Maya Raksa took over every ‘intelligence’ and ‘courage’. He seems to be the source of every intelligence that is not really true. “After the loss of the desire for life, humans lose their logic and are bound to and slave to the trap of the Pasung Maya spell,” explained Marmar. His magic really penetrates the weak souls who have previously been implanted with data illusions about reality. Lies, horrors that constantly gnaw at the mind, leaving trauma so that they dissolve in virtual illusions, life without life. “The souls died from the world before the body,” said Marmar.

But later with the blessing of the universe, the chosen people will appear as ‘Nangiyang Tutur’ the awakener of consciousness and purify life. That’s when the Kala decides. Two ogoh-ogoh which were conceptualized by two young artists from Denpasar City will be paraded in their respective banjar areas, unlike before being paraded around the Denpasar Traditional Village area. This follows the direction of the Governor of Bali Wayan Koster, who finally allowed ogoh-ogoh only at the area of each banjar to anticipate the transmission of Covid-19.