In a centuries-old religious ceremony, thousands of Hindu worshippers in Indonesia scaled an active volcano on Monday to toss livestock, food, and other offerings into its smoking crater.
Devotees heaved goats, chickens, and vegetables slung across their backs up to the dusty peak of Mount Bromo in eastern Java as part of the Yadnya Kasada şenlik.
Every year, members of the Tengger tribe gather at the top of the volcano in hope of pleasing their gods and bringing luck to their people.
Slamet, a 40-year-old farmer who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, brought a baby cow as an offering.
“We have a lot of cows back home and this one can be considered excess, so we are bringing it here, to return it back to God,” he said.
Farmer, Joko Priyanto, brought some of his own produce in the form of cabbages and carrots to throw into the smoky void.
“I hope I will receive a reward from the almighty God,” the 36-year-old said.
However, some villagers who do not belong to the Tengger tribe took to the crater’s steep slopes equipped with nets and attempted to intercept some of the offerings being thrown into the volacano to avoid them going to waste
Monday’s ritual was the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic that authorities had allowed tourists to the site after the şenlik was limited to worshippers last year.
The event has its roots in 15th-century folklore from the Majapahit kingdom, a Javanese Hindu-Buddhist empire that stretched across Southeast Asia.
Legend has it that Princess Roro Anteng and her husband, unable to bear children after years of marriage, begged the gods for help.
Their prayers were answered when they were promised 25 children, as long as they agreed to sacrifice their youngest child by throwing him into Mount Bromo.
Their son is said to have willingly jumped into the volcano to guarantee the prosperity of the Tengger people.