Nyepi and the Ogoh-Ogoh Festival

nyepi and ogoh ogoh

By Ben

On Tuesday 8th March it was the eve of Nyepi in Bali.

Nyepi is a Hindu festival in which nothing happens at all, really nothing. You are not allowed to leave your villa or house; some hotels have to put things like covers over the windows and just to make sure you stay at your villa there are lots of security men on every corner of every street to check nobody leaves their homes.

The only reason people are allowed to go out is if they need to go to hospital. Police and fire stations are still opened in case of any incidents.

All airports and ports are closed. You cannot light a fire or use light; we cheated a bit and had the lights on but only inside the villa

Nyepi eve is completely different though because every village and town has these things called Ogoh-Ogoh. The Ogoh- Ogho is a big statue made out of fibreglass or something like that. Every small village or Banjar in the region of the big village in our case the main village closest to us was Ungasan, build one.

There are 14 little villages within Ungasan. They all make these Ogoh-Ogoh statues and they parade around Ungasan carrying the Ogoh-Ogoh to wash away all the bad spirits inside of them - so what they are really doing is making a huge offering to their god so he or she washes away the bad spirits.

Me, Mum, Dad and Tom all decided we would go and see this big parade with all the Ogoh- Ogoh as it is such a special occasion for all of Bali.

We got one of the drivers we knew Jakob and asked him to take us to a good spot because he was Christian so we didn’t want to disturb any Hindu drivers as they would like to go to see the parade as well.

So Jakob took us to a spot where the first Ogoh- Ogoh was walking already and we sat in the car and watched it go past this was at about 5:00 or 5:30pm. Jakob told us to walk for a wee bit and there was a spot where all the Ogoh-Ogoh lined up to take their turn to do the parade around Ungasan.

So we walked to the point he told us to go to and there was lots of Ogoh- Ogoh there. It took about fifteen minutes for one to leave to start the parade and another 2 for the next one to move into place for the big dance they do with the Ogoh-Ogoh.

The only problem was it was absolutely BOILING because it was the time it started to get really humid which is when the sun starts to set.

So we were all standing there soaking wet with sweat. We only saw 7 out of 14 because:

(1) It was too warm and (2) it was getting late so we decided to phone Jakob again to take us back to the villa.

We asked him to meet us where he dropped us off, but it was a bit hard to get to because of the people and scooters, so the driver that normally takes us Puspa ran back because he saw us when he was carrying his Ogoh- Ogoh and said he would ring Jakob and ask him to meet us somewhere easier.

So he started taking us to another place and he took us down this pitch black ally at night in Bali with only the flashlight on his phone for light. The walk only lasted about 2 minutes and it was by far one of the scariest 2 minute walks of my life because I always think about the worst thing that could happen. So I was thinking that somebody was either going to kidnap one of us or stab us all to death.

So as you can imagine for me it wasn’t that great for me.

We eventually got to the end of the ally and we only waited a few minutes until Jakob came to pick us up.

We thanked Puspa for safely taking us down the alley to get to Jakob quicker and we got in Jakob’s car and he took us back to the villa. We noticed that it wasn’t too late so we watched one of the most disappointing movies ever because my dad said there would be great action in but it was a three hour movie with fifteen minutes of action and that movie was called............... Heat.


On Nyepi day as a joke Me, Dad and Tom decided to hire a really loud motorbike and drive around Bali yelling WWWOOOOOOO. We also decided to get chased by the security guards and then go for a swim on the lovely beaches of Bali and then I................Woke up.

We really would have loved to have done this but we respect the traditions of a country while we are staying in it.

Nyepi was really good because our villa is right on a road where lots of scooters and cars drive past from six in the morning to 12 at night so it was really nice to hear no noise apart from all the dogs, frogs, crickets, chickens and cows - which was actually very relaxing.

That morning there was also a solar eclipse all over Indonesia. We were able to see it at about 8.15am, not a total one but it really did get darker for a short time. We didn’t have special viewing glasses so we used a piece of white paper with a small pinhole in it.

So Nyepi as you can imagine we didn’t do anything so there isn’t much else for me to say about Nyepi and Nyepi eve.

I hope you enjoyed my report and be sure to check out all my other reports, photos and videos on the side and bottom of the page.


Ben and Tom

About the Author

Ben and Tom

Hi we are Ben aged 10 and Tom aged 8 - join us on our travels! Find out all about us here.

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