My first day in Ubud, Bali was certainly exciting. After flying back from Yogyakarta with Jessica, Cynthia, Anna, and Alisa, we immediately headed into the center of Ubud for the traditional Balinese Tawur Kesanga Festival. A little background..
The day before Nyepi is known as Tawur Kesanga or Pengerupuk and is the day on which evil spirit are driven away. The villages and neighborhoods are cleaned, food is cooked for 2 days and at dusk people start to bang pots and pans and carry torches through their houses. Then they go outside joining with others to make fearful sounds and sprinkling rice over the alleyways and roads. Demon effgies or huge monsters with bulging eyes made of bamboo, papier-mâché and cloth and known as ogoh-ogoh are carried through the streets in torch-lit parades. These demons represent the mythical giant Bhuta Kala and symbolize evil. This is the one day of the year when cock fghting is permitted because the spilling of blood is necessary for the purpose of purifcation. At the main crossroads offerings are placed on the ground to entice the demons and evil spirits. The offerings, which are sometimes smelly and include blood – small chickens are sacrifced – are for the devils and demons and are always placed on the ground. The offerings for the gods are placed on platforms specially made for this purpose. Once the demons have been lured, the priests then recite curses on them in order to force them to leave the village. Everybody joins in to help by beating pots and tin cans, tooting vehicle horns and making lots of noise. This is called mabuu-buu. Children go around the villages in groups enjoying the fun.
Alisa in the departure lounge in Yogyakarta
The festivities begin with lots of kids carting the figures through town to their staging areas, where they wait for it to get dark..
Darkness falls, and the festivities begin.