Javanese Hindu devotees trek volcanic crater with offerings

Jakarta, July 21 (IANS) Thousands of Javanese Hindu devotees and travellers on Thursday climbed up Mount Bromo, an active volcano in Indonesia’s East Java province, for the traditional ‘Yadnya Kasada’ ceremony where offerings were flung into the mountain’s crater for good luck.

Swarms of brightly adorned ethnic Tenggerese villagers, who identify themselves as Hindu, trekked up the 2,329-metre-high mountain in the Tengger massif volcano complex of the province, carrying livestock and crops to sacrifice to the gods, EFE news agency reported.

The Yadnya Kasada ritual, known as the Javanese volcano festival among travellers, is an annual programme held during the full moon on the 14th of the traditional ‘Kasada’ month in the lunar calender.

The ritual is rooted in an ancient legend about Roro Anteng and Joko Seger, a childless couple praying desperately for children atop Mount Bromo.

The mountain gods heard the couple’s wish and granted them 24 children but asked for the last 25th child to be thrown into the mouth of the volcano as a sacrifice, a condition to which Roro and Joko agreed.

Since then, offerings to the mountains have taken place every year, according to the local travel guides, which note that hundreds of tourists also join the villagers in their annual pilgrimage.

But this year’s festival comes less than a week after ash emissions from the still-active conical stratovolcano rose to 1,000 metres northwest before dissipating, according to the Volcano Discovery portal.

Earlier this year in April, the mountain spewed ashes reaching up to 1,200 metres in the sky forcing authorities to shut Abdulrachman airport in Malang.

As a safety measure, authorities allowed local Tenggerese people only to reach the edge of the crater to throw offerings where non-Hindu villagers were waiting below with nets and sarongs to retrieve the goods.

Though the devotees are aware of the villagers, they believe in the act of sacrifice that will herald an abundant harvest and appease disaster, regardless of what happens to the offerings thereafter.



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