By Jacob Herin
Thousands of devotees have gathered in Larantuka in East Nusa Tenggara province for a traditional procession to mark Good Friday.
They include hundreds of devotees from Kupang, the provincial capital, who took advantage of free round-trip ferry tickets offered by the governor to make the 10-hour ferry trip to Flores Island.
The procession involves carrying the statues of Tuan Ma (Mary) and Tuan Ana (Jesus) through Larantuka to the Queen of the Rosary Cathedral.
The tradition started in the 16th century and continues to attract Christian and non-Christian pilgrims.
The Portuguese ambassador to Indonesia Carlos Manuel Leitao Frota and his wife, the tourism minister Marie Elka Pangestu, are among the guests of honor for this year’s procession.
“I have been taking part in the procession for five years. I once asked the Virgin Mary for luck, and I got a job soon after,” said Bernadete Besu, a Protestant.