In 2024 Bali will be promoting sustainable and culturally respectful tourism more than ever.
However, the world-famous Ogoh-Ogoh competition and parades part of the Nyepi Festival, also known as the Balinese New Year, has been officially canceled this March.
Balinese New Year, known officially as Nyepi Festival, or the Day of Silence will this year start at 5:59 a.m. on Monday 11th March 2024 until 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, 12th March 2024.
Traditionally the night before the day of silence communities come together to parade huge monster-like statues through the streets.
Each statue takes months to prepare with whole families, communities, and villages coming together to create the biggest, most artistic, and most fearsome ogoh-ogoh possible.
@wayan_sunarte4 stt bali yoga krui💀 #CapCut #ogohogoh2023 #ogohogoh #ogohviral #bali #pemudaharapanbanjar #pesisirbarat #Lampung #tampaksiring ♬ suara asli – son – Wayan
This incredible festival has caught the attention of the world and thousands of tourists time their visits to be able to observe this unique cultural parade.
Thousands of people come out to watch the parades as the ogoh-ogoh are run through the streets turned three times at every intersection and crossroad to help ward off evil spirits.
The ogoh-ogoh parades are also a great way for local communities to come together and keep their culture alive.
The planning, preparation, and building of the ogoh-ogoh is often coordinated by the island’s youth, supported by the community elders who supervise the safety and security of the parade alongside the island’s spiritual leaders.
Traditionally the ogoh-ogoh are burnt at the end of the parades, though nowadays it is more common for the statues to be shaken until they fall, but some are preserved and sold as cultural curios.
@ogohogoh.bali tapel ogohogoh #bali #ogohogohbali #ogohogoh2023 #ogoh_ogoh_bali ♬ suara asli – hardy andika
Ogoh-ogoh parades are organized at a village, town, city, and regency level. In November 2023 officials suggested that the regency-organized ogoh-ogoh parades may be canceled due to fears that since the festival falls so close to the general election the effigies and statues may be created with a political theme.
It has now been confirmed by the Head of the Buleleng Regency Culture Service, I Nyoman Wisandika, that the Bali Province Culture Service will not organize any ogoh-ogoh parades or competitions in 2024, for the 1946 Nyepi Caka Holy Day. There have been hopes the rumors weren’t true.
Wisandika told reporters, “This year, ogoh-ogoh competitions will not be held in all districts and cities throughout Bali. It’s been fixed, it’s a decision from the Bali Provincial Culture Service.”
Wisandika said that he and his teams have not been informed as to the exact reason why the ogoh-ogoh competitions and parades will not be held at a regency level this year.
“We don’t know the exact considerations, what is clear is that it is a decision from the Province.”
When this news was first alluded to in November 2023 officials suggested that since the festival falls so close to the elections.
Since many ogoh-ogoh take months to create if the competitions were canceled, officials feel this removes any temptation to use the festival to promote or condemn any political agenda during a deeply spiritual and cultural event.
Wisandika said that although the island’s biggest parades and competitions will not go ahead, village-level parades will still be possible.
He confirmed that the Traditional Village Councils will support the youth in each village so they can still make ogoh-ogoh and host community-level festivities.
He noted “It has been a tradition from year to year, Traditional Villages are welcome to make ogoh-ogoh. This is also an opportunity for creativity.”
“Later, the parade can only be carried out in that village area, the important thing is that it is orderly and smooth.”
Tourists staying in Bali over the Nyepi festival will still be able to observe ogoh-ogoh parades, especially if staying in smaller villages, or at homestays.
Most communities are all too happy to have tourists watch the village ogoh-ogoh parades.
Tourists are reminded to respect and adhere to the instructions of local Pecalang (village security officials) during all festivals, parades, and ceremonies throughout the year.
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