A day before Nyepi this year on the 17th March 2018, I got the chance to witness Ngerupuk Festival. It is a time when the local residents gather up at the local square and show off Ogoh-ogoh, giant demon figures they have prepared since a month before the day. The Festival is exactly one day before The Day of Silence (Nyepi), a day when all Balinese turn off all electricity and go into reflection mode for the whole 24 hours.
Ogoh-ogoh at Ngerupuk Festival takes many forms and reasons; a 12 headed beast attached to a giant dragon, a red monster with axe and wing, a flying pig rode by an evil master. They’re all of those sorts of demonic representation a human imagination can materialize. I got a chance to have a chat with a local elder and he told me that the making of Ogoh-ogoh though have rules that govern them. They must not offend any race, cultural values, or anyone in particular.
The festival started at about 5pm in the evening way until around almost midnight. There were 16 Ogoh-ogoh in total, displayed by 16 different community groups. First, before being pareded on the village streets,they were performed in front of judges at the local square. I thought at first the Ogoh-ogoh will be burned by the time the Festival ends, however, the event was ended by a winner announcement and the giant Demons were still under display until about a week. The burning part was only symbolic, the truth is they tend to not burn the whole thing and still cling to their art after the show.
Ngerupuk Festival can be seen almost all over the streets of Bali, as it is done at the same time everywhere. My experience at Pecatu Village was a magical one, there were not as many tourist as the one is Seminyak or Legian as well so it was definitely a good place to be if you want to watch Ngerupuk Festival on a front row street.
If you bring a car or motorcycle you can park it near Pig Panic restaurant and then just walk towards the nearby square, or if you can’t find it, just follow where everybody’s going.
Ngerupuk Festival is something different and mystical that it will really touch your heart and prepare you for the contemplation needed to go well into Nyepi (Day of Silence) festival the next day