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Marching to the Sound of a Different Drummer

Despite Government Calls to Cancel 'Ogoh-Ogoh' Parades on March 25, Many Local Banjars in Bali are Busily Preparing to March.

(3/10/2009) Despite recommendations from the Denpasar municipal government and local community leaders to cancel ogoh-ogoh parades on "Nyepi Eve," March 25, 2009, in order to avoid public disturbances in the lead up to legislative elections, a number of Denpasar communities are busily preparing the large papier-mâché floats that form the central part of the popular Mardi gras-like festivities.

Radar Bali reports that in the Sesetan area of South Denpasar, ogoh-ohoh construction is being undertaken by a number of local communities in disregard with Denpasar's Mayor and the city's village leaders forum instructions to cancel this year's parades.

The public relations officer for the municipal government, I Made Erwin Suryadarma, told the press he was unclear what, if any, sanction awaits local communities or banjars who persist with their plans to hold ogoh-ogoh parades. He explained that the issue of sanctions was a religious matter, left entirely to the decision of the traditional villages (desa adat).

Suryadarma revealed that if any desa adat insisted on holding an ogoh-ogoh parade, the municipal government will not interfere providing the traditional village leaders assumed full responsibility for any consequences of their actions. Suryadarma said the recommendations of the mayor to suspend the ogoh-ogoh activities merely represents the consensus of the village leaders' forum.

The spokesman explained that reasoning behind the recommendation of the Denpasar city government was made in view of the ongoing legislative election process and the desire to maintain public order during a potentially explosive period.

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Selamat Hari Nyepi Caka 1931!


Photos from Ogoh Ogoh (Click to Enlarge)