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PERANG PANDAN IN BALI IS A UNIQUE WAR DANCE TRADITION, ORIGINATING FROM TENGANAN VILLAGE WHICH IS THE OLDEST VILLAGE ON THE ISLAND OF BALI

Bali Perang Pandan is a war dance tradition specifically performed in Tenganan Village. The word “perang pandan” actually refers to “makare-karean” in the context of war dance in the village. This activity takes place during a ceremony at the temple called “Ngusaba”. Interestingly, a similar ceremony is known by other Balinese peoples, especially in lowland areas with rice field irrigation systems called “Ngusaba Nini”. The essence of this ceremony is to ask for a bountiful harvest. In the lowlands, the implementation of this ceremony is not routine, but is determined through a plenary meeting by the village elders together with the ritual leader. It should be noted that this celebration is very unique and interesting to witness, with this war dance only found in the oldest indigenous village in Bali, Tenganan Village. In this dance, they use weapons in the form of prickly pandanus leaves and round rattan shields, while fighting and rubbing the pandanus thorns against the enemy’s body. Bali Tenganan Perang Pandan tradition is a spectacular and extraordinary phenomena.

All you need to know about Perang Pandan Tengana

  • Perang Pandan Location
  • Perang Pandan History
  • Perang Pandan Date Held
  • Perang Pandan Unique Tradition
  • Perang Pandan Rule Fighting
  • Perang Pandan Event Sequence
  • Perang Pandan Clothes

Perang Pandan Location

The location of Perang Pandan or War Dance is located in Tenganan Village, Karangasem Regency. The village maintains a very unique tradition and is recognised as one of the oldest villages in Bali, known as Bali Aga. If you are interested in visiting the location of Perang Pandan in Tenganan Village, we provide Private Hire Car and Driver at affordable prices and satisfying services. However, keep in mind that this war dance performance or Perang Pandan is not held every day, but once a year, and the date is determined based on the Balinese calendar, which is 35 days a month. The location of Perang Pandan or War Dance in Tenganan Village can be reached in about 2 hours drive from Kuta area or about 1 hour 30 minutes from Ubud. With the help of Google Maps, you can easily find the location of Tenganan Village, the venue of the spectacular Perang Pandan performance.

Perang Pandan History

The villagers of Tenganan in the past adhered to Hinduism, which is referred to as Indra’s religion. They believe in Dewa Indra as the highest god who does not distinguish between castes, and Tenganan Village is considered a gift from Dewa Indra. This belief is based on a myth, in which the Tenganan area was once ruled by a cruel king named Maya Denawa. This king regarded himself as a god and forbade his subjects to worship at temples, telling them to worship himself as a god. This angered the gods, who sent Lord Indra to confront Maya Denawa. A fierce battle between Maya Denawa and Dewa Indra ensued, and was eventually won by Dewa Indra. The day of the battle is now commemorated through the Perang Pandan ceremony, remembering Dewa Indra as the god of war. Since then, the Perang Pandan ceremony has been held to commemorate the history of Tenganan Village in the past. The performance involves the younger generation of Tenganan Village, creating a memorable and rare moment to witness the uniqueness of the phenomenal Perang Pandan performance.

Perang Pandan Date Held

Perang Pandan is a ceremony held regularly based on the Çaka calendar year, held at the village temple. Tenganan village has its own distinctiveness, and the word “Ngusaba” comes from the vocabulary of medieval Bali, (around the 14th to 16th centuries AD), an era in which Majapahit influence intensified. The Çaka year is a lunar calendar created 78 years after the Gregorian Era (78 Anno Domini). As the ceremony is based on the Çaka year and the Hindu-Javanese calendar, determining the exact date of the International Calendar is difficult. The Hindu-Javanese calendar itself consists of 210 days, and Balinese people tend to use these two calendar systems together, and mix them up. As a result, there are ceremonies that repeat every 210 days and others every 365 days. If you want to know exactly when the event will be held, please contact us. We will find out the right time for this pandan war to take place, as this calendar is different from the regular calendar. Therefore, determining when the pandan war event or war dance will take place is very difficult.

Perang Pandan Unique Tradition

Although Bali Aga villages are unique, in general, they share a similar mindset. They view religion, customs, art, architecture, economics and other cultural aspects as an inseparable entity, involved in each of their creations and works. For example, in dance, they see it as a ritual, entertainment and educational medium. Although dance can serve as an art performance with various themes, such as the concept of female beauty, the strength of warriors, the wisdom of a prime minister, even animal behaviour that attracts artists to imitate and express it through dance. There is no doubt that Perang Pandan was originally a form of war dance or self-defence exercise, which was also introduced by other ethnicities in the world with different forms and styles. In Bali, what sets it apart is that almost every dance is considered a requirement of a ritual. Perang pandan is more of a war dance, where participants carry pandan weapons and use them to swipe at the backs of their enemies, creating a show of fighting. This is a tradition that is very unique to the village of Tenganan, which is the oldest village on Bali Island.

Perang Pandan Rule Fighting

In makare-karean or perang pandan, there are no fixed rules for fighting, except that the dance is more often performed by the younger generation. The term ‘fighter’ may be more appropriate than ‘dancer’. The fighters carry pandanus leaves with sharp edges, while the other hand holds a body armour made of woven bamboo or rattan to protect themselves from the opponent’s attacks. One person only acts as referee. The fight results in scratches on the skin from the prickly pandanus leaves. After the fight, the ritual leader applies oil made from herbs to the wounds and spreads holy water over the fighters. There are no grudges between the fighters, and they sit together and eat together on banana leaves. In pandan wars, the principle of no grudges is upheld, as this is a tradition that strengthens the sense of community among villagers, creating harmony. A unique tradition that is still preserved to this day.

Perang Pandan Event Sequence

Before starting the perang pandan ceremony, some preliminary rituals will be performed. Participants will go around the village as a form of asking for safety to the gods. After circling the village, they continue with the ritual of drinking tuak together. Tuak is a type of Balinese alcoholic drink, collected and thrown beside the stage. The participants then get ready by sitting around the arena, and the village officials who are the organisers will give the signal to start the war. The pandan war begins with two people in the arena picking up spiked pandanus weapons and round rattan shields. They dance while hitting their enemy with the spiked pandanus, sometimes rubbing their weapons against each other’s backs. The fight lasts about a minute or two, and alternates with other participants. Although it sometimes results in cuts and blood, the participants seem happy, considering it an expression of gratitude and honour to Lord Indra. After the fight, injured participants are smeared with a traditional concoction made from turmeric, and they pray at the temple. Despite being wounded and bleeding, participants do not hold grudges against each other as this is a sacred tradition that should not hold grudges. The ceremony continues with a communal meal, where participants eat together on one large plate. This tradition, called megibung, aims to further strengthen the sense of brotherhood among participants.

Perang Pandan Clothes

The clothes from the pandanus war attire comes from Tenganan’s famous traditional craft, the Pegringsingan ikat weaving. The participants wore sarongs made from Pegringsingan ikat weaving, which characterises the Tenganan village. In addition, they wore udeng, a headband that reflects Balinese characteristics. The participants do not wear clothes or are topless, only the lower part is covered by a sarong tied with a shawl. During the fight, participants do not use footwear. This is a unique tradition that preserves the culture and customs of Tenganan village, which is the oldest village on Bali Island. If you are interested in purchasing Pegringsingan woven fabric, you can buy it in Tenganan village, as the fabric originates from there and is guaranteed to be authentic. The process of making the fabric involves time-consuming double ikat, with natural colouring using natural materials.

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