This tradition can only be found in Bali. The Balinese fight club, “Perang Pandan” was originally practiced for self-defence purposes.
This one month long ceremony is now held annually, in June in Tenganan village, Karangasem, to repsect the Hindu God of War, The Indra.
The word “perang” means war, and “Pandan” comes from the word for Pandanus leaves (which is used as the main material for the ‘weapon’). Moreover, The Perang Pandan is also known as the ‘war dance.’ The war dance symbolized power and strength over their enemies, and dance as you may already know, is a ritual essential part of Balinese culture and traditions.
The event starts at mid-day, first with a prayer and continued with a dance ritual as the introduction. The participants comprise of boys and girls, as well as the men from the village. However, only the males participate in the “fight.” Girls dressed in traditional dress and watch the boys scratch their backs off. Each fighter brings sharped edged Pandanus leaves on one hand, while the other holds a woven bamboo or rattan that works as a shield. The fight starts when the referee gives the signal.
The men starts fighting to scratch each other’s backs and the bloody scene is well underway. According to the people in Tenganan Village, blood and scars are a symbol for warriors. At the end of each fights, victory is claimed to those created the most damage to its opponent. It looks like a painful spectacle, yet surprisingly the contestants don’t show any pain. The wounds after is usually treated with local herb that helps it to dry it up.
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