Lucky night. While walking along Jl Raya Ubud after an early dinner at Fair Place Warung, I saw droves of Balinese in formal attire walking and gathering in groups. The last time such gatherings took place, the procession with the ogoh-ogoh took place.
A group of women had taken post at the corner of Jl Raya Ubud and Jl Sri Wedari. Sensing a procession, I went to nearby Warung Schnitzel, ordered a kopi bali and took stock of the scene from the warung’s balcony. Just as I was finishing what was left in the coffee press, I noticed the crowd had gone bigger and young women with offerings on their heads and young men carrying the sacred barong masks had assembled.
People were seated in a circle inside which were numerous offerings. A man in all white, presumably a pedandas took what seemed to be some root crops and diced them. When he finished, another pedandas scattered away grains of rice. All throughout, woman sang in a plaintive chant.
Then a bell started to ring whereupon the kneeling crowd took a petal, clasped it between their fingers and seemed to offer it with their arms in prayer position above their heads. When the bell stopped ringing, the women put the petal in a knot on their hair. This went on about three times.
It was such a thrilling scene with the barong masks held high above the carriers’ heads towering over a sea of people. The procession went down Jl Raya Ubud then turned left to Jl Hanoman.