Participation in the Ogoh-Ogoh parade in the village of Sambirenteng in Bali, Indonesia / 27 March 2017

The holiest Hindu holiday, the Balinese New Year festival, called Nyepi Day, fell exactly in the time of our trip to Bali. Nyepi is the Balinese day of silence and meditation.

The day before Nyepi is “Ogoh-Ogoh” day. According to Hindu faith, demons are expelled on this day. The meeting point for the demons is believed to be the main streets in the villages. Parades take place  there with demon figures, the “Ogoh-Ogoh.” It is somewhat similar to a German carnival parade.

Before the parade, purification ceremonies are held in the temples, and the children walk through the village with loud instruments to awaken and drive out all the demons. After the move, the “Ogoh-Ogoh” are burned at sea.

As a sign of respect and appreciation for the Hindu culture and religion, we participated in this traditional Hindu event. We wore our sarongs, the sacred temple clothing, even though this was not required for the parade. We attended the rituals in the village square, and then watched the procession with all its ritual facets and accepted it completely.

The purpose of this “Ogoh-Ogoh” ceremony is, according to Hindu faith, the banishment of all evil spirits from the villages and the life of the very faithful Balinese in order to reconcile the balance between humans, the gods and nature.

As a sign of the fact that we could “contribute” something as a large community, we joined the procession at the end with our “Walk for Peace”. Our intention was to show our commitment to connect with the Balinese through intense encounters and to pass on our peace.

Susanne Knopp

(This journey has been privately financed by the participants.)

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