Bali’s Monster Mash

It’s hard to describe the almost palpable sense of excitement and anticipation among my neighbors over the past weeks, the last few days. It’s equally hard to describe the energy and bursts of color and sheer grotesqueness that visibly permeated the city’s streets today – the day preceding the Balinese Hindu New Lunar Year.

For weeks, bands of banjar boys, known as Seka Teruna, are vested with the honor and responsibility of constructing and crafting monstrous, larger-than-life effigies representing demons and gods, symbolizing evil spirits that destabilize, then neutralize, the villages and entire island. These papier-mache, bamboo and metal monsters, called ogoh-ogoh, are built over the course of a few weeks, displayed in all their gargantuan glory, then paraded around town, through intersections where demons are believed to gather.

There was alot of clanging on bells, pots and drums. Fireworks and gamelan music rang out into the late evening hours. The last of incoming flights to Denpasar sounded overhead. An ambulance siren echoed in the distance. And hordes of motorbikes sped, like the wind, outside my window.

But more than anything, this day was all about the craziest looking, funniest, scariest, hairiest, sexiest monstrous creations I’d ever seen!

And now, without further adieu, I give you… the ogoh-ogoh of Tebesaya and surrounding banjars:





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