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 Beware, demons rule Bali’s streets tonight!

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Kesasar

Kesasar

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BerichtOnderwerp: Beware, demons rule Bali’s streets tonight!   Beware, demons rule Bali’s streets tonight! Icon_minitimedi 12 maa 2013 - 8:11





The Bali Daily, Monday, March 11 2013,


The main streets and junctions across the island will be the catwalk for demons tonight as thousands of Balinese youths carry hundreds of ogoh-ogoh (giant papier-mâché effigies) in a noisy procession called ngerupuk. At the end of the procession, the ogoh-ogoh will be torched in the cemeteries or at intersections, a symbolic act of destroying all the negative and demonic elements in the universe. When the flames die out, the world, the Balinese world at least, will be ready for the total silence that marks the new beginning, a restored hope. That total silence, known as Nyepi, will be observed by Balinese Hindus across the island on the day following ngerupuk.

Hindu pundits have repeatedly declared that the ogoh-ogoh parade is not an integral part of ngerupuk, which is essentially a religious procession. The core of ngerupuk lies in the caru sacrificial ritual held in every household and the torch procession afterward.

In caru, family members organize a feast for the unseen spirits — the forces of nature — to pacify their destructive characters and win their support in restoring the harmonious balance of the world. At the end of the ritual, family members purify their family compound with burning bamboo torches or flaming dried coconut leaves. Later on, they march along their respective village’s main road, alongside the other villagers, with bamboo torches in their hands and accompanied by deafening bleganjur percussion ensembles in a collective act of exorcism to banish demonic spirits back to the underworld.

From the 1980s, the youths in Denpasar started crafting ogoh-ogoh to symbolize the demonic spirits and carried them during ngerupuk. The effigies, which the pundits claim are more of a cultural expression than a religious one, soon upstaged the whole procession. Through the years, ogoh-ogoh have grown into not only the symbol of the unseen demons, but also the fleshy ones — Nazarudin, Angelina Sondakh and now Anas Urbaningrum — , as well as the medium for the youths’ emerging sub-cultures —f rom punk to rastafari. Last year, an ogoh-ogoh marched through downtown Denpasar to the accompaniment of Pitbull’s “I Know You Want Me” groovy tune.

The ogoh-ogoh parade has also evolved into one of the most attractive street festivals the island has to offer to its tourists. Local administrations in tourism-heavy areas, such as Sanur and Kuta, have cleverly tapped into the potential of this parade by devising an annual competition aimed at spurring the local youths’ creativity, as well as bringing some order — criteria, do’s and don’ts, themes — to the art of making ogoh-ogoh.

This year’s parade will be no different. The South Denpasar district, of which Sanur is one of the nine member customary villages, will see at least 323 ogoh-ogoh paraded along the main roads in Sesetan, Pedungan, Panjer and Sanur.

“Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai, particularly from Sanur up to the Dewa Ruci intersection, and Jl. Raya Sesetan will see a lot of activity during ngerupuk. Naturally, traffic jams will take place in these areas,” South Denpasar police chief Comr. Agus Tri Waluyo said, predicting that traffic would start to slow down around 3 p.m., four hours before the ogoh-ogoh parade kicks off.

In the Sanur area, Agus pointed out, much of the fanfare took place at the intersection near Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel and at Mertasari. The police will deploy most of their officers to these two intersections.

The 2002 Bali Bombing monument in Legian will be the starting point for the ogoh-ogoh parade in Kuta. As many as 13 ogoh-ogoh from 13 customary villages in Kuta will be displayed around the monument from noon, before being taken in the procession along Jl. Legian. The remaining 78 ogoh-ogoh will be paraded along streets in different parts of Kuta. Naturally, lengthy traffic jams will take place in this famed tourist resort.

The Catur Muka monument in downtown Denpasar will be the epicenter of the ogoh-ogoh parade for Denpasar. In the past, the area around the monument has been flooded with people who want to watch the parade. This year, the parade will see at least 169 ogoh-ogoh officially made by the hamlets across the city. The number of unofficial ones, created by youth organizations and communities, will be even higher than that.




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