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Wednesday, 12 June 2024 10:09

Mekare-kare Tradition

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Usually pandanus or pandan leaves are used for food ingredients, but in Tenganan Village, Karangasem Regency, Bali, pandan leaves are used as weapons in a war tradition. The Mekare-kare tradition, commonly known as the "pandan war", is a tradition that is done every year on sasih kalima, the fifth month in the special calendar of the Tenganan Pegringsingan Village, Bali. Based on the Tenganan village calendar, the tradition falls in June. According to local beliefs, the Mekare-kare tradition or pandan war tradition is carried out as a tribute to Lord Indra (the god of war) as well as the ancestors. This tradition is also part of the Sasih Sembah ceremony, the largest religious ceremony in Tenganan Village.


Lasting for two days, the Mekare-kare tradition begins with a ceremony to ask for safety and a ritual of pouring tuak, a traditional alcoholic beverage, on each other. A traditional leader will give the signal for the war to begin. The war is carried out in pairs. Then the pandan war participants will dance around and occasionally slash the spiked pandan at other participants. Even though their bodies bleed, the participants still look happy because it is one of their expressions of gratitude and a way of honoring Lord Indra. After the war is over, wounded participants are smeared with a traditional concoction made from turmeric plus coconut oil to treat them. There is no revenge or anger after the game because all participants do it sincerely as part of a traditional ceremony.


The Mekari-kari tradition uses thorny pandan weapons as the main property. The thorny pandanus is cut to the same size, then tied like a mace, a weapon in war. Pandan War participants will also carry a rattan shield to protect themselves. The men who will participate in the Pandan War only wear a sarong (kamen), shawl (saput), and headband (udeng) without clothes, bare-chested. The pandan war is accompanied by gamelan seloding music. Seloding is a Tenganan musical instrument that can only be played by sanctified people. This instrument is also not carelessly played, but only on certain occasions.

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