PANDAN WAR “Mekare-kare”

Mekare kare

Mekare kare or pandan leaves war is performend during the Village ngusaba ceremony every year in honor of Lord Indra ( the god of war ). Usually this ceremony held on month of June in the village of Tenganan near to Candidasa, east of Bali. The Tenganan village surround with hills, rice paddies and keep from the outside influence by a solid rock with just four entrances to the central village.


The history of the festival which is the most important festival for the gods and ancestor was coming from their megalithic period. To the people of Tenganan the presence of deities and ancestors is of great significant above all during the fifth month of Tenganan year, the Sasih Sambah where it is believe that the universe, the village and their religious community are renewed and given strength through the performance of extensive rites such as the pandan leaves war.
The mekare kare ceremony held at the front meeting hall in the village and usually held two days once a year. The time of the event usually around 2pm where every villagers with their custom clothing flocking to the meeting hall.
The thorny pandan leaves ties together and with a shiled made from rattan they performe a battle with each other. The ritual started by drinking palm wine and then the wine poured on a banana leaf cup. Each one get its own cup and then each one poured their wine to other banana cups where in the end disposed laterally into the ground.
After the ceremony open by elders than one by one the people of Tenganan ready face to face with pandan leaves in their right hand and a shield on their left hand. The fight will use the thorny pandan leaves to hit the opponents on their back, waist and sometimes on their neck and face. The fight did not last very long, around a minute and each one of the villagers will get their chances including kids. The whole fight last around three hours. The scar left by the fight then treated with traditional medicine usually made from saffron.
The event followed with a swinging rites which is reminiscent of old vedic swinging rites performed during the Mahabharata winter solstice celebration which entirely focus on Indra. The swinging is like a symbol of the unite between the sun and earth. From this event it is suggests that the Tenganan may be connected with an immigration from east or southeast India during Vedic times. The ceremony ended by praying together at local temple and performing a Rejang dance.


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