Tuesday 14th June 2016
Mekare - kare "Pandanus War" 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.

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.’

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.

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.

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.

During festivals such as this, the women of the village wear the famous hand-woven double ikat textiles, known as ‘Geringsing’. Tenganan is the only place in Indonesia where this double weaving technique is practised and the ritually significant, magic cloth haas the power to protect the wearer from sickness and evil vibrations. On the first day of the mekare-kare, the unmarried maidens of the village ride creaky wooden ferris wheels, which are manually operated by the men. The turning symbolises the descent of the sun to the earth. Mekare-kare takes place in Tenganan every year in June or July as part of the Usaba Sambah festival. Visitors, however, are welcomed to the fortress-like village at anytime of year during daylight hours; many of the houses function as shops and workshops where expert craftsmen and women perform their centuries-old skills. This living museum is well worth a visit!

source : Bali Travel News