Please Update your browser

Your browser is out of date, and may not be compatible with our website. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.
Just click on the icons to get to the download page.

Jakarta Post

Images: ‘Mekare Kare’ - “Blood offering for the god of war”


Jakarta   /   Thu, June 30 2016   /  10:42 am

Every year, the villagers of Tenganan Pegringsingan in Karangasem celebrate a month-long religious festival called Usaba Sambah, to respect lord Indra, the god of war in Hindu mythology.

Among the rituals held during the festival is Mekare Kare or perang pandan, where the men of Tenganan proudly display their courage in a ritual battle. This year, the ritual took place on June 24 and 25.

Armed with clubs made of thorny pandanus leaves and rattan shields, they took their place on an elevated wooden stage to partake in a brief “duel”, accompanied by the sounds of gamelan played at a fast pace to boost the fighters’ spirits.

For a total of three hours — each fight lasts only a few minutes but is sufficient to inflict wounds on the participants and even draw blood — it is a contest open to all, including boys of all ages. No hard feelings, no hatred, no reve...