I rarely take photos around town. It is not like I am a tourist, snapping shots to commemorate a trip. I often think about bringing my camera out with me, to drive around the villages for a day taking photos. But, then, my regular schedule kicks in, and I just live my life as an expat, living in Bali, Indonesia.
The day before Nyepi in Bali, however, I wanted to take advantage of living in Ubud during one of the most important holidays of the year. I wanted to be a tourist in my own village. I took the requisite pictures of the ogoh ogohs, and posted them to Facebook, like many of my friends in Ubud.
But for me, the most interesting photos were not of the ogoh ogoh themselves, but in the boys carrying them.
Nyepi is definitely a holiday for the boys of Bali. They dress up like miniature versions of their fathers, with their sarong and head covering, an udeng.
The girls do this as well for most Balinese holidays and ceremonies, wearing small sarongs and lace tops called kebaya. For Nyepi in Bali, though, the girls take a back seat, and the boys are the stars.
They join together to make the neighborhood’s ogoh ogoh, and then they carry them together as a group through the village.
They took pride in making the finishing touches on the ogoh ogoh.
You could just see how excited some of the smaller boys were to participate in the ceremonial procession, some nervous with anticipation.
I am sure the older men tired of it after so many years, but the younger ones were still so excited. For this brief moment, in the ten and younger crowd, Nyepi was certainly the highlight of their year.
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new food and drink destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together they have traveled to over 70 countries.