Pandanus War, ‘Mekare-kare’ Tradition at Tenganan Village

Tenganan Village or better known as Tenganan Pegringsingan is one of many ancient villages on the Island of Bali. Life pattern of the community reflects the culture and customs of Bali Aga (pre-Hindu) tradition being different from other villages in Bali.  This village has a wide area of approximately 1,500 hectares where houses and customs were retained as the original.  This village belong to one of the old village in Bali, this is called Bali Aga village. The location of this village surrounded by hills, while the shape of is like a fortress worthy of having only four entrances to the system of custody, making it easier to know who is coming and going from the village.

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On that account, Tenganan Village is developed into one of the objects and cultural tourist attractions. Tenganan Pegringsingan sits in the Manggis Subdistrict, about 17 km from Amlapura town—regency capital of Karangasem—5 km from Candidasa tourist resort, and about 65 km east of Denpasar. Another attraction owned by Tenganan Village is the Mekare-kare ritual tradition or better known as ‘pandanus war.’

Trust adopted Tenganan villagers are different from Balinese people in general. Tenganan Villagers have written rules or awig-awig that hereditary bequeathed by their ancestors, also did not recognize caste and believed to be the god Indra is the god of all gods. Lord Indra is the god of war. Historically Tenganan was a gift from God Indra to wong peneges, the ancestral village of Tenganan. While the Balinese Hindus in general makes the Tri Murti Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva as the supreme god.

As the name implies, the means used are thorny pandanus leaves cut into pieces along ± 30 cm as a weapon and accompanied with a shield which serves to fend off the attacks from the scratches of pandanus thorn conducted by the opponent. Any injuries caused by scratches of the pandanus thorn will be smeared with herbal ingredients such as galangal, turmeric, and some others.

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Mekaré-kare essentially has the same meaning as the cockfighting usually performed by Hindus in Bali when carrying out religious ceremonies. Mekaré-kare event is always accompanied by native gamelan music to Tenganan Village, known as Selonding.

Perang Pandan or Makare-kare was held 2 days and held a once a year on sasih Kalima (the fifth month on the calendar of Bali) and is part of the ceremony Sasih Sembah is the largest religious ceremony in the village of Tenganan. The implementation location of Perang Pandan is in the middle of village hall. The execution usually begins at 2 pm in which all citizens use traditional Tenganan clothes (Pegringsingan woven fabric), for men only use gloves (Kamen), scarves (saput), and a headband (Udeng) without clothes, bare-chested. Supplies thorny pandanus war is bound to be one form of a mace, while the shield is made of rattan. Every man (start rising juvenile) in this village must participate in the implementation of Pandan War, the stage is about 5 x 5 meters square. With a height of about 1 meter, without a safety rope around.

After the ceremony, all scars were treated with traditional ingredients made from saffron is supposedly a very powerful way to heal wounds. There was no sad eyes even crying at the time because they all do it with all-herted and happy. This tradition is part of the ritual worship done by Tenganan villagers to the God Indra; god of war who was honored with the blood through the ritual Perang Pandan, conducted without any sense of revenge, or even with a cheerful smile, though they have hurt each other with thorny pandanus. after the war finished then the ceremony covered by praying at the local temple and equipped by the present of Rejang dance.

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Before the Perang Pandan starts, beginning with the ritual ceremony surrounding villages to beg salvation, then held Mekaré-kare is the culmination of a series of Ngusaba Sambah ceremonial procession held in June lasting for 30 days. During a month long procession, the Mekaré-kare event is organized for 2-4 times and each event will be accompanied with the presentation of offerings to the ancestors. Mekaré-kare or ‘pandanus war’ is carried out by men from children to old people.

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