Also referred to locally as ‘mekare-kare’ and ‘megeret pandan’, Perang Pandan is a mass coming-of-age ritual, dedicated to the Hindu god of war and the sky, Indra, which sees friendly duels between all male villagers, who bout each other armed with a small rattan shield in one hand and a tied packet of thorny ‘pandan’ leaves in the other. The women are also present, looks exoticly
appealing drapped in Balinese traditional costume and make up, but they do not take part in the fighting ceremony. Instead, they cheer for their relatives, lover of male family members who take part in this noble and ‘manly’ battle ritual.
So don’t be surprised if you see some foreigners in the arena as well. Although none of the participants holding back their ‘punches’, this festival, strangely, have more ‘fun’ vibrant than violent or gory. After the fight, they apologize to their opponent and take care of each other wound with turmeric and traditional medicine. Instead of grudges, everyone acknowledged that it’s just a game; a medium to socialize and preserving the long historical tradition of Tenganan village indigenous ‘Bali Aga’ people.