The municipal government of Denpasar, the capital of Bali, has allocated Rp. 1.46 billion (US$162,000) to be divided amongst 419 community youth groups (Sekaa Teruna-Teruni – STT).
The resulting individual allocations of Rp. 3.5 million (US$389) will be used to construct Ogoh-Ogoh displays as part of Bali’s celebrations leading up to “Nyepi” - the day of absolute silence that ushers in a New Year on the Balinese calendar.
Hari Suci Nyepi Tahun Baru Saka 1934, which falls on March 23, 2012, is preceded by a night of Mardi Gras-like revelry in which elaborate papier mâché floats are paraded on Bali’s streets before they are abandoned, often set ablaze, before people retreat to their homes for a 24-hour period of reflective meditation in which all activity is prohibited.
The ogoh-ogoh floats involved days and nights of dedicated work by villagers who create large figures depicting monster, daemons and stage celebrities.
Fueled by copious quantities of intoxicating arak, young men, in traditional Balinese dress, carry the floats on their shoulders, sometimes resulting in contentious stand-offs when ogoh-ogohs from competing banjars encounter each other on Bali's narrow streets.
While no funds were provided to STTs in 2011, this year’s allocation reflects a new national political will in which tourism and the creative sectors are linked.
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