|Just to give you an idea of the size....|
Gigantic monsters have appeared around the island of Bali. These monsters, called ogoh-ogoh, have been constructed by the men of each community as part of the celebration of Nyepi, the Balinese New Year, which begins tomorrow. Rachel and I took a drive around our town and captured a few pictures to share with you.
These enormous figures are indeed ugly. At the same time, some of them are fascinating from the standpoint of the complexity of their construction.
|Probably the most intricately-constructed ogoh-ogoh |
I have seen in my area today.
|Three of seven ogoh-ogoh waiting for the parade later tonight.|
In the homes of Balinese Hindus, at some point, the women will light bundles of leaves and grasses and use them to "sweep" the evil spirits out of their home and into the streets. There the noise and the monsters are supposed to scare them away from the island.
|Some ogoh-ogoh take on a more modern flavor.|
Tomorrow, all throughout the island of Bali, everyone has to stay indoors and keep quiet. No stores are open. No cars or motorbikes will be on the street. The airport will be closed, so the skies above the island will be empty. Traditionally, on the day of quiet, no one is allowed to use electricity or other types of light. Technically, cooking over an open fire is not permitted. Voices must be kept quiet.
These restrictions apply to everyone present on the island, whether Hindu or not. Even tourists who have not planned their holiday to be away from Bali at this time must stay inside the grounds of their hotel. Usually, the major hotels will have been given special permission to conduct activities on the hotel grounds for their guests.
Over the twenty years I have lived in Bali, I have seen some communities become much less strict about the quiet day. Even so, the level of noise and activity screeches to a virtual halt.
So what are the Balinese supposed to do during the quiet day? What is its significance? I have heard several explanations.
|I'm not sure of the story |
behind this four-headed guy.
A second explanation is that people are supposed to use the quiet day to reflect on their lives, actions, and character during the past year. What needs to be changed and given new direction in the year ahead?
As a believer in Jesus, I have no need of gigantic monsters to scare away evil spirits in order to get a fresh start with a clean slate. However, taking some time during the quiet day to reflect on my life in the past year is not a bad thing. Purposefully looking into the year ahead as I follow Jesus into all He has for me would be a wonderful way to spend at least a part of the day of quiet that starts at midnight.
For that matter...why wait for the enforced day of quiet that goes along with Nyepi? This kind of reflection is a good discipline all throughout the year.
Is there any time of year that you take to reflect on where your life has been and where it is going? Why not share in a comment below.