Friday, March 1, 2024 | 10:20 WIB

Perang Pandan Tradition in Karangasem Bali, a Tribute to the God of War


Jakarta, IO – Tenganan Pegringsingan village in Karangasem, Bali, has a unique tradition called Perang Pandan (pandanus war) or Mekake-kare which is considered as a tribute to the god of war.

The village chief I Putu Suarjana said that according to the concept of the Hindu Dharma religion and the Indra sect, the tradition is done to offer respect for god Indra.

In Tenganan Village, people are considered soldiers. “For example, our settlement has a fortress concept, so we have to be alert to enemies from outside. On the other hand, the enemy is not only from outside, but from within, so the tradition of Perang Pandan emerged,” said I Putu Suarjana, per detikTravel, Tuesday (17/10).

Mekare-kare is celebrated by the villagers every June. It lasts for a month as the culmination of the Ngusaba Sambah ceremony series. “Mekare-kare has the same meaning as the tabuh rah ceremony which is often performed by Hindus in Bali to honor spirits,” he explained.

Mekare-kare is carried out for approximately three hours two to four times in the month. Before the war was held, young men and women went to the top of the mountain in Tenganan village to present young coconuts.

“Ngastiti is done to pray for the success of this event. So young men and women go to the top of the mountain because there is a sacred place for Oncesrawa horse remains,” said I Putu Suarjana.

Afterward, the young men would look for thorny pandanus leaves which would later be used as weapons in the war. The leaves must be cut about 30 cm long. The young men who will go to the war are also equipped with shields to defend themselves.

“Why young men? First, young men will grow from being a child into a teenager. Second, young men can already distinguish between enemies and friends. Third, young men have prepared themselves to start a family,” said I Putu Suarjana.

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The battle will last for about five to seven minutes and ends when one of the participants surrender or someone suffers an injury from the thorns. The tradition is always accompanied by the characteristic musical instrument of Tenganan village, namely gamelan selonding.

The young women are tasked with making a traditional concoction or boreh which will be used to treat cuts caused by the thorns. Boreh is made with a mix of natural ingredients such as turmeric, galangal, bangle and vinegar. This unique tradition is not only exciting for local people, but is an attraction for tourists.  Crowds of tourists often flock to witness it. (at)


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