Every year around June, Indigenous Bali Aga people take part in a traditional ceremonial battle involving pandan leaves as weapons as part of the largest religious festival of the year.
Named Perang Pandan, it is part of a month-long ceremony dedicated to honoring the Gods, in particular, Indra, the Hindu god of war.
Boys and men from Tenganan Peringsingan village in East Bali face off in duels using clubs made of 10 to 15 thorny-edged pandan leaves that are tied together and rattan shields.
Wearing the traditional dress of a kamen (sarong) and an udeng (headdress), participants use swinging strikes to scratch their opponents’ backs and draw blood as an offering to appease the Gods.
The ritual serves as a rite of passage for young men, and those who do the most damage are declared the winners.
Injuries are surface level and treated with ointment made from local herbs before the entire village comes together for megibung, traditional family feasting.