Perang Pandan: The Traditional Balinese War Dance Ceremony

Bali is not only about beautiful beaches and exciting party places, but it also has a rich cultural heritage. There are many cultural events for visitors and travellers to experience. Each one of those consists of a different form of dances, art exhibitions, socio-economic events and much more. Perang Pandan is one of the dance forms which depicts the story from Hindu ethos or which is based on a ritual which is dedicated to pleasing one of the deities in the Balinese culture.

Witness the War Dance - Dates and Venue

Dates: First week of June, 2020 
Venue: Villages of Tenganan Pergringsingan and Tenganan Dauh Tukad.

Rules of the Ceremony - Traditions and Customs

Balinese Women in Traditional Attire
Balinese Women Draped in Traditional Attires
Source
Perang Pandan is hosted by the Aga tribal group in Bali. This annual event is meant for men who are supposed to show their masculinity and maturity by fighting with one another. This scuffling between men is called makare-kare and is the highlight of the Usaba Sambah festival which lasts for a month. The special ceremony of fighting starts after the ritual drinking of the palm wines in specially made banana-leaf glasses while a person stands as a referee. During the event, the duelling arena is specially set-up and the village houses are beautifully decorated. The main duelling arena is packed by cheering villagers, visitors and photographers.

The Sport

Perang Pandan
A glimpse during the fight
Source
During Perang Pandan, each man starts the fight with a bamboo shield and pandanus leaves. The fighting often leads to blood loss when the participants try to overcome one another by hugging each other and scratching the back of the opponent with the bunch of leaves that are tied together. Quite surprisingly, the wounds get healed in minutes with a mixture of some herbs, vinegar, and turmeric.

"The Prize" 
The men who win also get the girls, dolled up in the most gorgeous traditional clothing. The girls’ parade in the front of the village on a beautifully made wooden swings which are man-powered, and it’s a part of the festivities. This particular tradition of wooing unmarried women in this event reveals the historical actualities of the Aga group in Bali, Tenganan.

Story Behind The Perang Pandan 

Perang Pandan
Perang Pandan
Source
Perang Pandan is celebrated at the Tenganan village in East Bali and it is an age-old tradition which has been preserved beautifully at this old Balinese village. Locally, Perang Pandan is termed as megeret pandan and mekare-kare, and it is basically a coming-of-age mass ritual which is solely dedicated to the Hindu god of the sky, Indra, and god of war. During this traditional dance, there are friendly duels between the male villagers who attack each other with small rattan shields in one hand and a bunch of packed thorny ‘pandan’ leaves on the other hand. This is an annual event in Bali and it’s based on the local Çaka year calendar.

Tips While Visiting this Ancient Celebration

Perang Pandan
Excited spectators during the ceremonious war dance
Source
If you wish to be a part of this particular cultural ritual in Bali, you need to plan early. The Tenganan Village is located in the eastern part of Bali, in the Karangasem province. The place generally overflows with tourists during this time and hence, good accommodation options get filled faster. Apart from this, here are a few things which you must know:

1. Perang Pandan is basically a part of a month-long Usabha Sambha ceremony in Bali. During this event, the locals perform different rituals to honour their ancestors. So, if you can be there during Perang Pandan, you can be a witness of one of the many rituals that they perform.

2. In case you are not too fond of fights and dislike bloodshed of any kinds, you can opt for seeing some other highlights of the Tenganan village. You can try out their local foods which are on a huge display in the stalls. There will be delicious traditional cakes too.

Perang Pandan
Perang Pandan delicacies
Source
3. You can spend some time learning the making of the ‘lontar’, which are their traditional palm leaf manuscripts. Or take a few minutes off to see their ‘prasi’ art forms and carved calendars in the shops which sell intricate local handicraft produces.

4. Buying a piece of double ikat (the technique of resist dying) for your living room back home is a good idea if you wish to bring back a part of the traditional Balinese culture.

5. The village of Tenganan is located around 15 minutes away from the northern Bali and the Jalan Raya Candidasa road. So, there you will find several hotels and resorts along the Candidasa coast. These hotels also provide shuttle transfers for the tourists during such events as a part of their tour options. Hence, make a point to confirm the same before booking your stay.

Perang Pandan
Tenganan Masks
Source
The best part about the event is that, miraculously enough, the contestants do not show any sign of pain or anger towards the opponent once the ritual is over. They even sit together and have their meals on banana leaves, chatting and making merry. Make sure that you know the exact date of this event before you book your tickets for Bali. Perang Pandan is a day-long event and hence, do not confuse it with the month-long event of Usaba Sambha.

This post was published by Anuradha Chakraborty

Share this post on social media
Google +

Related Articles

Fairs & Festivals

Nusa Dua Light Festival - Biggest Lantern Festival of Bali

Fairs & Festivals

Bali Kite Festival: Indonesian Sky Celebrates its True Colours in Style!

Fairs & Festivals

Sanur Village Festival - Witness Balinese Culture At Its Best!

Fairs & Festivals

Denpasar Festival 2019 - Witness the Balinese Extravaganza

Fairs & Festivals

New Year in Bali - 7 Ways To Spend A Memorable New Year in Bali

Travel Tips

Bali Or Phuket - Where Should You Go Next?

6 Temples in Bali to Witness Architecture at its Best

A Wave of Leisure Awaits You at These Bali Beaches

Adventure

Surfing in Bali: A Guide to Riding the Waves

Adventure

Scuba Diving in Bali on Your Mind? Here's Everything You Need To Know

Transport

Commuting in Bali: A Quick Guide To Transport In Bali

Travel Tips

Currency Exchange in Bali

Shopping

Shopping in Bali - Where to Shop Till You Drop in Bali

Romantic & Honeymoon

Bali vs Maldives - Which Tropical Destination Should You Go to Next?

Romantic & Honeymoon

Honeymooning in Bali? Discover Hotels, Destinations and Activities for Romance

Art & Culture

Languages in Bali - Common Phrases to Help You in the Island

Beaches & Islands

Seychelles Or Bali - Sort Out Your Next Holiday Plan!

Top Places

10 Most Beautiful Islands In The World

Art & Culture

Languages of Indonesia: The Different Tongues of a Diverse Country

Adventure

Kitesurfing in Bali - Best Operators and Places in Bali for Kitesurfing

Travel Tips

Safety in Bali - Safety Tips While Travelling In Bali

Adventure

These Best Water Sports in Bali That are Sure to Give you an Adrenaline Rush

Experiences

5 Golf Courses in Bali for the Perfect Golfing Experience

Fairs & Festivals

Denpasar Festival 2019 - Witness the Balinese Extravaganza

Architecture

Architecture of Bali : Everything You Need to Know

Top Places

8 Cities in Bali You Must Cover To See This REAL Indonesian Gem

Experiences

Spend a Beautiful Tropical Evening on a Sunset Dinner Cruise in Bali

Beaches & Islands

Water Sports in Bali

Adventure

Water Parks in Bali

Road Trips

Renting a Bike in Bali - Insights for a Comfortable Vacation

Art & Culture

The Bali Arts Festival 2019 - A Balinese Cultural Rollercoaster

Adventure

Telaga Waja Rafting - A Thrilling Balinese Experience

Adventure

Travel Bucket List Destinations To Up Your Instagram Game

Travel Tips

Currency of Indonesia - Indonesian Rupiah Exchange Rates & More

Experiences

Top 4 Spots to View the Sunrise in Bali!

Beaches & Islands

Must Visit Places in Bali

Fairs & Festivals

New Year in Bali - 7 Ways To Spend A Memorable New Year in Bali

Food & Drink

Gay Bars in Bali

Travel Tips

Travel Advice Bali - 13 Travel Tips to Bali

Road Trips

Renting a Car in Bali - An Insightful Guide For The Perfect Vacation

Shopping

Night Markets in Bali

Food & Drink

Night Markets in Bali?

Family Holidays

Temples in Bali to Witness Architecture at its Best

Sightseeing

Waterfalls in Bali For An Adventurous Escape

Art & Culture

Museums in Bali

Food & Drink

Street Food in Bali - A Local's Guide to the Best of Balinese Cuisine

Adventure

Water Sports in Bali

Adventure

Parks in Bali

Adventure

Skydiving in Bali - Best Places in Bali for Skydiving

Shopping

Markets in Bali

Nightlife

Nightlife in Bali - 11 Best Places to Party In Bali

Adventure

Flying Fish Water Ride - The Highlight of This Family's Balinese Adventure!

Fairs & Festivals

16 Festivals of Indonesia to Witness Colour and Tradition of the Nation

Adventure

Mountains in Bali

Wildlife & Nature

National Parks in Bali

Adventure

7 Adventure Activities in Bali to Get Your Adrenaline Pumping

Food & Drink

Coffee in Bali - The Best Balinese Coffee Blends You Must Try

Food & Drink

Food of Bali - 25 Dishes That Anyone Visiting Bali MUST Try

Experiences

Horse Riding in Bali - 10 Stables Every Aspiring Equestrian Must Visit

Adventure

17 Parks in Bali for an Exhilarating Day Out

History of Bali - From Paleolithic to Present

Sightseeing

Sunsets in Bali: Witness Iconic Bali Sunsets at These 10 Spots For a Magical Evening

Fairs & Festivals

Sanur Village Festival - Witness Balinese Culture At Its Best!

Travel Tips

What to Wear in Bali - For a Culturally Comfortable Vacation

Adventure

Diving in Indonesia: 9 Best Sites to Explore the Heart of the Coral Triangle

Sightseeing

These Gorgeous Backpacker Hostels in Bali Are Too Good To Be True!

Experiences

Coffee Plantations in Bali to Get to the Source of Your Coffee

Shopping

Shopping Malls in Bali - 11 Malls in Bali To Find Everything You Need

Adventure

Camping in Bali - 8 Best Places in Bali To Connect With Nature

Shopping

What To Buy in Bali | 10 Must-Buy Bali Items & Where To Find Them

Travel Tips

Casinos in Bali - Your Guide to The Legalities For Gambling in Bali

Beaches & Islands

Should You Be Worried About Bali's New Law On Sex And Couples? Read More To Find Out

Adventure

7 Best Spots For Snorkelling in Bali - Experience the Balinese Waters

Fairs & Festivals

Nusa Dua Light Festival - Biggest Lantern Festival of Bali

Fairs & Festivals

Bali Kite Festival: Indonesian Sky Celebrates its True Colours in Style!

Art & Culture

Culture of Bali - Indonesia's Most Popular Island

Art & Culture

Culture of Indonesia – Explore the Vibrant Traditions, Cuisine and More!

Fairs & Festivals

Bali Spirit Festival - 7 Reasons You MUST Visit This Unique Gathering

Backpacking

Beaches in Bali For Those Who Love Sun, Sand, and Surf

Adventure

4 Best Spots for Paragliding in Bali - Fly High Above the Balinese Land

Adventure

13 Enchanting Trails For Hiking in Bali

Art & Culture

Dances of Bali: Get Awestruck by the Culture of Balinese Dance

Art & Culture

Religion in Bali: Explore Balinese Hinduism and More

Beaches & Islands

Islands in Bali

Experiences

Galungan - Bali's Most Important Festival | 2019 Dates & Festivites

Sightseeing

Zoos in Bali For A Wild Getaway

Backpacking

Day Trips From Bali

Family Holidays

Pre Plan Your Work Leaves For The Long Weekends in 2019

Art & Culture

17 Facts About Bali That You Probably Didn't Know

Experiences

6 Elephant Rides in Bali - Explore Nature At An Elephant's Pace!

Top Places

The Stars Align - Here's Where You Should Travel This Year Based On Your Zodiac Sign

Art & Culture

Yoga in Bali - 15 Studios to Rejuvenate Your Chakras

Fairs & Festivals

Ubud Food Festival - A Food Lover's Delight

Adventure

Islands near Bali

Fairs & Festivals

Festivals in Bali - The Island's Most Celebrated Feasts

Comments on this post