Klinik Farma – Indonesia’s largest lake appeared in Google Doodle today, August 31, 2023. What myths exist about Lake Toba?
When you open Google today, you will see a picture of a lake, which turns out to be Lake Toba in North Sumatra. The reason the Google Doodle shows Lake Toba today is because it is the 3rd anniversary of Lake Toba being declared a UNESCO Global Geopark.
Many people are interested in how Lake Toba was formed and what myths exist in it. Read an overview of the origins and myths of Lake Toba below:
Origin of Lake Toba
Lake Toba was formed as a result of a great supergiant volcanic eruption that occurred about 69,000-77,000 years ago. This eruption was one of the most destructive eruptions in the last 25 million years on Earth.
The consequences of this eruption are known as the “Toba disaster”, which has a significant impact on the world’s population. This disaster is believed to have caused the death of most of the population of the time, even reducing the population by approximately 60 percent, as well as disrupting the food chain.
Not only that, but this prehistoric volcanic eruption almost wiped out the species Homo sapiens.
The myth of Lake Toba
1. Folklore of Lake Toba
One of the most famous legends about the origin of Lake Toba tells of a woman’s anger at her husband for breaking a promise. The woman was originally a fish who agreed to marry a young man on the condition that the young man could not reveal his origins.
After he got married and had a son named Samosir, tragedy struck. The husband forgot his promise and insulted the child by calling him a “fish boy” because of a small mistake while he was eating provisions that should have belonged to his husband, who was working in the fields. Hearing this, the mother became furious and threw Samosir onto the hill.
It rained heavily and water gushed out like a spring from the ground. As a result, the village sank and Lake Toba was formed. The hill on which Samosir took refuge is now known as Pulau Samosir.
2. Sigale-Gale dolls that can dance.
The sigale-gale doll is one of the typical characters of Batak culture. Sigale-gale dance performances are often performed as entertainment or part of a ritual. Despite the fact that the Sigale-Gale doll is made only of wood, it is capable of dancing on its own.
It is said that this doll was created to entertain the Batak king who had lost his son. This doll is modeled after her child and is used in rituals to invite the child’s spirit into the sigal-gale doll.
3. The story of the giant goldfish
The legend of Lake Toba has a story about a giant goldfish that lives in the lake. This fish is so big and strong that it can drag fishing boats into the middle of the lake.
4. The Ethic of “Sorry” Before Bathing
According to myth, if someone wants to swim or bathe in Lake Toba, they must first ask permission by saying “excuse me.” The goal is not to disturb the spirits that are believed to reside in the lake.
5. Hanging Rock in the city of Parapat
In Pematang Purba village of Parapat, a large stone hangs from a steep cliff. It is said that this stone was raised by a local shaman as a sacrifice to the spirits to prevent them from disturbing the local population.
This is a brief overview of the Lake Toba myths you should know. Hope this will be helpful!
Participants: Muhammad Zuhdi Hidayat