Fighters spill blood for war god in ancient ritual

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Two men from Indigenous community of Tenganan Pegringsingan fight each other using pandanus leaf and rattan shield during the pandanus war ritual called Mekare-kare on June 23 in Tenganan Pegringsingan Village, Bali, Indonesia.

The ancient “Bali Aga” Tenganan Pegringsingan village is different from the other villages in Bali, especially in their religious beliefs.

Tengananese people on the island of Bali celebrate a month long ceremony called Usabha Sambah to demonstrate respect to the God Indra, the Hindu god of war.

One of the rituals during the ceremony is a Pandanus War or Mekare Kare, where two Tengananese men duel each other to shed the blood for the offerings.

The tradition originated from a belief that they have to make blood sacrifices to Indra.

When the men and boys shed their blood during the battle, this is the ultimate sacrifice and devotion to Indra, and also shows dedication to their community.

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