A joint prayer was held in Denpasar on Saturday afternoon for the Bali volcano threatening to erupt.
Thousands of people from different faiths gathered together and prayed for safety from Mount Agung, which is currently at the highest alert status for an eruption.
Mount Agung, located in Bali’s Karangasem regency, about 75 kilometers from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been rumbling since August and volcanologists fear the volcano could erupt for the first time since 1963. Over 144,000 people had evacuated from around the volcano, but those outside of the immediate danger zone—of nine kilometers from the volcano’s crater—were told to go home on Saturday.
Saturday’s joint prayer was held in Lapangan Niti Mandala and attended by the general public, as well as members of the military, religious and civic organizations, and students.
“We all live on the Island of the Gods, therefore, it is our collective duty to pray that the nature of the Island of the Gods remains harmonious, balanced, and safe from disaster,” Bali deputy governor Ketut Sudikerta said in a speech at the joint prayer event.
While Bali is predominantly Hindu, there are a number of religious minorities living on the island.
As many as 5,000 people reportedly participated in the prayer, including Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists.
Sudikerta conveyed in his speech that people should take the opportunity for self-reflection as the recent seismic activity from Agung could be a “sign”of nature responding.
“It could be because of our behavior and behavior that often does wrong to nature. Let us pray that Mount Agung remains calm,” he said, as quoted by Tribun Bali.
“We pray that the province of Bali will be spared from disaster and that evermore, we will always be given safety from Agung. We are not only praying, but also showing the world that we are ready to help all victims,” the deputy governor said.
Agung, the highest peak on the island, holds a special place in the hearts of Balinese. The volcano is regarded as sacred and is often the site of religious ceremonies.
A group of Balinese Hindu priests summited the volcano on Friday last week to do some special prayers at the crater and ask the volcano to do no harm.
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