Bali’s Ogoh-Ogoh Festival has become one of the most popular annual events on the island for both local and foreign visitors. This unique celebration takes place on the day before Nyepi, also known as the day of silence, which this year takes place on March 16th. In the days leading up to the festival, people staying in Ubud and in other areas of the island will notice local communities making their ogoh-ogoh – large wooden effigies of demons and monsters. These elaborate models, fashioned from bamboo and decorated with papier mache, are then paraded through the streets in a noisy procession, accompanied by gongs and burning torches.
Known as Ngrupuk, the purpose of this festival day is to scare off evil spirits before the 24-period of silent reflection begins for Nyepi. Some of the ogoh-ogoh are extremely large and require several people to carry them during the parade. The procession has evolved into a competition in recent years, with the best ogoh-ogoh receiving a prize at the end of the day. On Nyepi, all traffic is banned from the streets as the Balinese people remain indoors with their families. Even the airport is closed for business on this special day and visitors to the island are asked to observe the local custom by staying inside their hotel compounds.