Melasti, Ogoh-Ogoh & Nyepi, Bali, Indonesia

Nyepi, or the “Day of Silence,” is the start of the Balinese ‘Caka’ year and is a religious celebration. Its origins date back to the mythical times of gods, evil spirits, witches and bizarre superheroes. A precursor to Nyepi itself is the Melasti Festival, held in every town and village. It is a symbolic spring cleaning of Bali’s spirit in readiness for the big day. Large effigies of the gods are hauled to rivers and the sea for ritual bathing, prayers and religious offerings. After this ceremony, the first sighting of the fearsome Ogoh-Ogoh appears. These are huge effigies of evil monsters. Expect big bulging eyes, contorted faces and hands and enough fake blood to give young kids sleepless nights. These are carried through towns and villages in a traditional procession to the cacophony of deafening drummers, claxons, gamelan music. The idea is to make as much noise as is humanly possible in order to scare off all evil spirits. After dark these effigies are ceremoniously burnt, followed by much celebrations into the night. Drinking, dancing and feasting takes place in a rather chaotic fashion, all with the aim of driving these evil spirits far, far away, or at very least driving them insane.

Mass Pray by Ning Yu Pao, on Flickr

Procession by Ning Yu Pao, on Flickr

Decorating by Ning Yu Pao, on Flickr

Melasti At Ulun Danu by Ning Yu Pao, on Flickr

Start Of Festival by Ning Yu Pao, on Flickr

Will post more later...

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