Tawur Kesanga–The Day Before Nyepi

Bali Pocket 004 - March 2016_page41_image42Exactly one day before Nyepi, starting in the afternoon, all villages in Bali hold a large exorcism ceremony at the main village cross road, where it is believed that demons meet. Balinese usually make Ogoh-Ogoh, the fantastic dolls that demonstrate monsters or evil spirits or the Butha Kala, for carnival purposes. The Ogoh-ogoh monsters symbolize the evil spirits surrounding environment, something we need to get rid of.

The carnivals of Ogoh-Ogoh are held all over Bali after sunset with lots of noise that has to be there to scare the evil spirits away! Also, bleganjur, a Balinese gamelan music accompanies the procession. The scarier the statues are— the better. They will have fangs, bulging eyes and scary hair and are usually illuminated by torches. Balinese make them for months, and some of them are state of the art. After being paraded on a convoy around the town, finally, they are burnt to ashes in a cemetery as a symbol of self-purification.

One of the best Tawur Kesanga is near Uluwatu Temple. Fantastic Ogoh-Ogoh statues, people dancing and children having fun are not to be missed. Just make sure to come early in the afternoon, because later the roads near to Uluwatu Temple are going to be closed for traffic.

The word “tawur” literally means, “pay” in a sense of payment to the bhuta kala, personification to negative force, so that Balinese can restore the harmony of life. And kesanga is the ninth month in Balinese Caka calendar. The kesanga is considered the worst month by the Balinese, with a heavy rainy season, believed that even the earth is sick and in pain. It is believed that the Lord of Hell, Yama, swept Hades of devils, which fall on Bali, making it imperative that the whole of the island has to be purified.

Bali Pocket Magazine