The Legend of Mounts Sumbing & Sindoro

Java is home to many volcanoes. In Central Java province are two such mountains side by side, Mount Sumbing and Mount Sindoro in Temanggung regency. Today marks the national holiday in Indonesia, in observance of the first day of the Islamic year. Today is also traditionally renowned as 1 Suro or the Javanese New Year (based on the Javanese calendar system) when local residents perform their pilgrimage to the summit of Mount Sumbing where they pay a visit to the grave of Ki Ageng Makukuh. According to the belief of local residents, and in order to remain safe and avoid danger, children are allowed to grow their hair long (dreadlocks like reggae artists). Residents here also engage in traditional arts like Ketoprak, a style that mixes performance-theater and wayang, and Jatilan, a dance with magic act, to name a few.

Most visitors are not versed in the legend behind the two mountains. Sumbing (meaning chipped) is in reference to its cone-like shape. According to legend, once upon a time, a married couple with 2 sons worked together in the rice fields. As is typical of children of a certain age, the two sons liked to fight each other. At one point, when the father loses his patience, he strikes his second son, cutting his lip open. Sindoro is a form of the word Ndoro, meaning a person who is polite, wise and likes to protect others. This legend now resonates as part of the local culture of Mount Sumbing and Mount Sindoro. When you look at Mount Sumbing from the east or west side, there is a torn middle section with a downward curve.

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