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Makare-Kare or Pandan War 2024

A traditional tribute to Lord Indra, the protector of Tenganan village

Dates: May–June

Makare-Kare or Pandan War
Makare-Kare or Pandan War
Makare-Kare or Pandan War

Aga, the oldest tribal group in Bali hosts an annual festival where men are supposed to show their maturity by fighting between each other. The sparring called makare-kare is a highlight of the Usaba Sambah festival that lasts for a month. This special ceremony in the village of Tenganan begins with ritual drinking of the palm wine from glasses made of banana leaves and shared by participants.

The guys start the fight with a bamboo shield and sharp pandanus leaves, which often ends in blood. The fighting men often try to overcome each other in some sort of a fighting hug during which the fighters try to scratch the back of their opponent, The men who win the fight, win also the girls, who are dressed up in the most beautiful traditional clothes and paraded in front of the village on a wooden Ferris wheel.

This tradition to impress unmarried women is a truly unusual ceremony that reveals the ancient history of Bali Aga in Tenganan.

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin