Bhuta = eternal energy Kala = eternal time
In Hindu mythology the Bhuta Kala are evil spirits that take pleasure in disturbing people’s lives so much, that they fall out of harmony with natural law. Philosophically they are a cautionary reminder that in order to be regarded as civilised, man must manage and protect earth’s natural resources not exploit them for his own gain.
In Bali these spirits are represented by the Ogoh-ogoh.
Photographs by Emanar – 2016
“I was amazed by the amount of skill and effort people put into making them, especially as they were going to be burned. For me, they are a reminder that we all have a little demon inside that comes out once in a while.”
The name Ogoh-ogoh comes from the Balinese ogah-ogah, which means something that’s shaken, and most artists incorporate moving parts in their creations so that when they are shaken during the parade, they appear to move and dance.
Some say the Ogoh-ogoh date back to the ancient Balinese kingdom of Dalem Balingkang where they were used in a ceremony to honor the sacred connection to ancestors. Others suggest the Ogoh-ogoh were inspired by the Ngusaba Ndong Ndong from Selat village in Karangasem, which were used to repel evil spirits.
Another theory about the Ogoh-ogoh is that they are an interpretation of the Barong Landung – embodiments of the cruel and despotic king Raja Jaya Pangus and his wicked queen, Putri Kang Cing Wei.
The Ogoh-ogoh were only inserted into Nyepi tradition as recently as the early 1980s when the first Ogoh-ogoh were paraded through the streets of Denpasar as part of Nyepi Eve celebrations. Over the years their appeal has spread throughout the island and now almost every village – and a lot of local artists – take great pride in creating their contribution to honour this new tradition.
After being paraded around the villages, the Ogoh-ogoh are ceremonially burnt as a symbol of purification ahead of Nyepi – the great day of silence and contemplation – and an evil-free start to a new year for the island and all beings it contains.
Thank you so much for sharing your pictures with us Emanar. If anyone else would like to share, please leave a message in the comment section.