The Ogoh-Ogoh Parade: An Attraction for Foreign Tourists Ahead of Nyepi Day in Bali

The Ogoh-Ogoh Parade: An Attraction for Foreign Tourists During the Nyepi Holy Day in Bali (Photo: tribunbatam)

The ogoh-ogoh parade, which is part of the series of events leading up to Hari Suci Nyepi (the Balinese Day of Silence), is one of the attractions for foreign tourists visiting Bali.

According to Tjok Bagus Pemayun, the Head of the Bali Provincial Tourism Office, the ogoh-ogoh parade only occurs once a year, making many tourists curious to see it.

“Events certainly have an impact, especially since the ogoh-ogoh parade only happens once a year. This is a unique attraction for foreign tourists,” Tjok Bagus said in Denpasar on Monday (21/3), as reported by various sources.

The ogoh-ogoh parade in Bali is held in all regencies or cities. Tjok Bagus mentioned that the calm and healthy air during Nyepi also adds to its appeal.

“If Nyepi with ogoh-ogoh is celebrated, they (foreign tourists) are very enthusiastic because it is unique and gives a healthy impression. As I said, in the future, we hope that the desired tourism destinations are safe, healthy, and ultimately comfortable for tourists to stay,” he explained.

He predicted that during Nyepi, the average hotel occupancy throughout Bali could reach 45-50 percent, while the current room occupancy rate is still at 40 percent.

However, Tjok Bagus urged hotels and accommodations not to use the word “Nyepi” or any religious symbols as part of their promotions to avoid impacting the tradition and causing confusion for tourists.

“I’m afraid people might think that the Nyepi package allows them to go out. It will create certain connotations. I ask the tourism industry to pay attention to this issue because there is tight competition in tourism destinations,” he said.

Tjok Bagus also urged foreign tourists who are in Bali during Hari Suci Nyepi on March 22, 2023, to participate in preserving Hindu cultural values.

This includes the ban on leaving their accommodation during Nyepi, making noise or disturbance, and lighting, as stated in the Catur Brata Penyepian, namely Amati Geni, Amati Karya, Amati Lelungan, Amati Lelanguan.

“Foreigners like peace, such as yesterday’s (issue) with crowing roosters. They need to have peace and health, so preparation for Nyepi conditions like this is necessary. All accommodation providers must inform tourists of the Catur Brata Penyepian rules,” he explained.

He admitted that so far, foreign tourists who have decided to participate in Nyepi have done so well, and if there are any violations, guards and pecalang have been stationed in all places.

For information, ogoh-ogoh is an art sculpture that is paraded in a procession towards the celebration of Hari Raya Nyepi. Ogoh-ogoh depicts a Hindu figure named Bhuta Kala.

Large-sized ogoh-ogoh sculptures resemble giant statues and are carried by a group of people around the village on the night before Hari Raya Nyepi.

Ogoh-ogoh is part of the Hindu community’s ritual before the celebration of Nyepi. According to the Buleleng Regency Government website, ogoh-ogoh comes from the Balinese word “ogah-ogah,” which means something that is shaken.

Ogoh-ogoh is also often depicted as creatures that live in Mayapada, Syurga, and Naraka, such as dragons, elephants, and widyadari. Some ogoh-ogoh sculptures are even made to resemble famous people, such as world leaders, artists, or religious figures.