Ogoh-ogoh are statues up to five metres high, which represent the negative aspects or all living things. They generally take the form of a local demon (some look downright obscene). The Balinese Hindu authorities try their best to ensure the statues are representative of the true spirit of the event, though an occasional Sponge Bob or Spiderman has been known to slip through cracks.
Similar to checking out the floats before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, Ogoh-ogoh statues can be viewed sprouting from the villages 3-4 weeks prior to Nyepi. During this time, you can see the Ogoh-ogoh in the final phases of construction. Going around to the different Banjars (communities) to see all the creative designs and witness the dedication that goes into the statue construction will boost the overall experience.
If you did your homework, you’ve probably noticed that most articles on this subject state that Ogoh-ogoh statues are papier-mâché. Unfortunately, what they don’t say is that a large percentage of them are made of styrofoam; which makes things messy if they are burned (not all Banjars allow them to be burned). However, there is hope. Some Banjars and resorts are starting to promote “organic” materials – bamboo, grass reeds, paper, etc. One of the tenets of Balinese philosophy is honouring the relationship between the divine, people, and nature.
All the ogoh-ogoh come out to play at the pengerupukan parade on the night before Nyepi–Bali’s Silent day also known as the Balinese new year.