Perang Pandan (Pandan Battle) War Dance, or locally known as “mekare-kare” or “megeret pandan”, at Tenganan village is a well-preserved traditional ritual dedicated to the god of War, Indra. This year, in 2018, Perang Pandan will be held on June 7-8 (tentative dates) in the villages of Tenganan.

Karangasem is one of the most touristic destinations in Bali which is still preserved their ancestor’s traditions. One of the unique ceremonies found in Tenganan village, Karangasem, is Perang Pandan. Tenganan is also one of the oldest villages in Bali which locally known as “Bali Aga”.

Mekare-kare Battle (photo by VancouverSun)

Perang Pandan (Pandan Battle) War Dance, or locally known as “mekare-kare” or “megeret pandan”, at Tenganan village is a held annually at “Sasih Kalima” (fifth month of the Balinese/Caka calendar). It is carried out during the ceremony called “Ngusaba” at the yard of village’s temple, dedicated to the god of war – Indra.

This year, in 2018, Perang Pandan will be held on June 7-8 (tentative dates) in the village of Tenganan. This is the most festive ritual in the village and have been waited by the villagers and tourists.

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Each duel allowed only two fighters

Tengananese men dress in traditional clothing with bare chest and headband (udeng), use thorny pandanus as their weapon for the battle and a rattan woven shield for protection. The duel is accompanied by gamelan music named Seloding, a musical instrument that should only be played by people who purified.

Mekare-kare is carried out by the youth of Tenganan village and also another youth outside the Tenganan village. The youth of the village acts as Pandan War participants, while youths from outside the village as a supporting participant. Though it is not an actual war, it does involve blood, but the spiritual aspect of the ritual causes no men to feel any serious pain, nor do they get infected by the wound resulted by the end of the ritual.

 

Villagers of Tenganan (photo by Mio Cade)

The ceremony begins after the praying ritual at the temple and continued with circling around the village and drinking traditional fermented drink called “tuak”.

After the battle ends, they smeared the scratches and wound with turmeric and vinegar traditional potion to each other and the ritual leader spread holy water to them. No heart feeling among the fighters, and they all sit together to have feast on banana leaves (megibung) and laugh together at the end.

Villagers march circling their village (photo by NowJakarta)

Preparation for Mekare-kare (photo by dailymail)

Traditional ferris wheel in Tenganan (photo by dailymail)

Fighters enjoying the feast after Mekare-kare ends (photo by NowJakarta)