“One by one members from each team are pitted against the opposition, each armed with a straw shield and a club made out of thorny pandanus leaves.”
For the Tengananese people of Bali, the Pandanus War Ceremony is an opportunity to celebrate Indra – the God of War.
People travel from all over Indonesia to witness the annual event that sees men from the village fight each other using thorny pandan leaves.
The day begins at 6am with young members of the village sent to collect holy water from the sacred springs in the hill. Meanwhile the girls take turns on the traditional Indonesian Ferris wheels.
Shortly after returning from the hills, the men and adolescent boys return home to prepare for the Pandanus War ceremony while the smell of roasting pigs begins to fill the streets.
At 12pm the open air hall is bustling with spectators, the men are then split into two teams as final touches are made to outfits and armoury.
Then one by one members from each team are pitted against the opposition, each armed with a straw shield and a club made out of thorny pandanus leaves. The fights can be vicious ending only once blood is spilled.
Witnessing the ceremony was a truly unique experience for me. Although they fight each other in the ring, you will see them afterwards in the spirit of brotherhood helping each other to apply potion made of turmeric and vinegar to each other’s wounds.Explore more of Putu Sayoga’s images of the Ancient Pandanus War Ritual