If you’re lucky enough to be in Bali this week, you’ll be able to see one of the island’s most popular and vibrant cultural events in the form of ogoh-ogoh parades, which happen on the eve of Nyepi – the Balinese Day of Silence and a new moon in the Balinese calendar. This year, it falls on Tuesday, March 21 this year.
The ogoh-ogoh represent demons or evil spirits in Balinese Hindu mythology, and are used in the parade as a way of symbolically purifying the island and warding off negative energy before the Day of Silence as well as a time for the community to come together and celebrate.
The Day of Silence itself is a unique and important tradition in Bali, where the island comes to a complete standstill for 24-hours. No one is allowed to leave their homes or engage in any kind of activity, including work, travel, or even lighting a fire or turning on lights. The Day of Silence is seen as a way of achieving spiritual and physical purification, and is an important part of the Balinese Hindu faith.
If you’re planning to witness Bali’s ogoh-ogoh parade this year, which you definitely should, here are some of the best locations to see this incredible display of culture and art. Be warned though, getting around may be difficult as many roads will be closed, so finding somewhere that’s walking distance away from where you’re staying is always a good idea.
As the capital of Bali, Denpasar is the perfect place to witness the ogoh-ogoh parade. The streets are filled with thousands of people, all eager to catch a glimpse of the spectacular floats, which are constructed with great care and creativity by local communities.
Parades typically start from the Puputan Badung Square, then continue along Jalan Gajah Mada, Jalan Thamrin, Jalan Surapati, Jalan Udayana, and finally ending at the Bali Art Center.
Ubud is considered to be the cultural centre of Bali and it’s famous for its arts and crafts. It is also home to some of the most beautiful ogoh-ogoh floats, which are often inspired by the town’s unique culture and traditions.
Parades usually start from the Puri Saren Royal Palace, then continues along Jalan Raya Ubud, Jalan Monkey Forest, and Jalan Hanoman.
As Bali’s most popular tourist destination streets come alive with locals and tourists during the ogoh-ogoh parades, which usually start from the Kuta Traditional Market, then continue along Jalan Raya Kuta, Jalan Kartika Plaza, and Jalan Pantai Kuta.
Sanur’s normally laid-back and tranquil atmosphere is replaced by a vibrant and lively spectacle, as locals and visitors gather to witness the procession of beautifully crafted ogoh-ogoh floats, normally starting from the Pura Segara Temple, then along Jalan Danau Tamblingan, Jalan Mertasari, and Jalan Danau Buyan.
Nusa Dua is famous for its great beaches and high-end hotels, and a great place to watch the ogoh-ogoh parades, usually starting from the Puja Mandala complex, then along Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai, Jalan Srikandi, and Jalan Pantai Mengiat.
The exact routes for the ogoh-ogoh parades may vary from year to year, so it’s always a good idea to check with local authorities, tourism offices or your hotel’s concierge for the latest information.