Ogoh-Ogoh: The Balinese Gigantic Doll

February 18, 2021

Ogoh-Ogoh is one of the Balinese cultures that everyone should see while in Bali. You may have heard about this monstrous doll if you ever come to Bali. It is closely related to Nyepi day in Bali. Nyepi day is the Balinese New year (Saka new year) celebrated all in silence for 24 hours.

Since it is celebrated in silence, it has so many excellent benefits. Click this article to know the details about Nyepi day and tips to experience it in Bali. If you are not familiar with this new year celebration, it will be your first right step to understand it. 

You can see Ogoh-Ogoh in Bali almost every year. You can see the its parade in another region in Indonesia. But the ambiance that you get will be different from the parade in Bali. Try it, and you will know how it feels.


Ogoh ogoh Photo source: cnnindonesia.com/Sonny Tumbelaka

1. What is Ogoh-Ogoh?

The Ogoh-Ogoh term derived from the word “ogah-ogah,” which means to shake. It is a gigantic doll representing demons or well-known as Bhuta Kala, that should be away from human life. In general, the shape of it is imitating the form of Mythological creatures, devils, also Gods and criticized famous public figures.

The primary materials of Ogoh-Ogoh are woods, bamboo, papers, and styrofoam. It takes months to make it. Usually, youth in the Banjar community will gather to create this Balinese gigantic doll several months before Nyepi day. It involves many people to build it.

Every year, there will be a different theme for the Ogoh-Ogoh. The Banjar youth will determine what kind of creature to be made that matches the theme. Then, they write a narrative story about the gigantic doll. After that, they will start to make it.


Ogoh ogoh parade Photo source: cnnindonesia.com/Wira Suryantala

2. The purpose of Creating It

Creating Ogoh-Ogoh is to purify the natural environment from the evil spirits and the destructive impact of human activities. It is considered as a symbol of the modes of nature that form the evil living beings’ characters. It also represents the Bhuta Kala. Bhuta means infinite energy, and Kala means eternal time.


Ogoh ogoh and torch Photo source: cnnindonesia.com/Nyoman Budhiana

3. The Ogoh-Ogoh Parade

This enormous doll is paraded in the evening before the Nyepi day named Pengerupukan day. On this day, Balinese people will surround their house while ringing their household utensils. 

The parade is starting by gathering the Ogoh-Ogoh at the village square. All the people from each Banjar gather at the village square too. Not only youth but also kids and older people. They walk together from the Banjar to the village square while carrying the Ogoh-Ogoh on their shoulders. Some of them bring torches and Kentongan (a drum made of bamboo or wood struck to sound an alarm).

Then, one by one, this giant doll from each Banjar is performed. The performance starts by reading the narrative story. This festival is also completed with Balinese dance, light the torch, and sound the Kentongan.

Once the village square’s performance is done, all people will walk around the village while parading the Ogoh-Ogoh all along the road. During the parade, it is rotated counterclockwise three times at every T-junction and crossroad of the village. It is intended to maze the evil spirits to cast them out so that they can’t harm human life. All people are happy and excited.

After the parade, the Ogoh-Ogoh is burnt ceremonially in the village cemetery and changed into ashes. This procession symbolizes purification. Somehow, the villagers won’t burn it, but keep it in the village’s tourism destinations. So visitors can see the huge Balinese doll after Nyepi day.

So, have you ever seen the Ogoh-Ogoh parade in Bali? How do you feel? Do you love it that much? Perhaps you haven’t seen it yet in Bali? Are you excited to see it directly in Bali? If you are around Ubud, you can stay in Ubud Villas Rental by Red Lotus Property and ask them to accompany you to see the Ogoh-ogoh parade. Once you want to see the parade and want to experience Nyepi day in Bali, Ubud Villas Rental is ready to assist you. Contact us right now!