Wet and wild fun in the village

This was one occasion when no one minded being dragged through the mud.

The annual buffalo race in Probolinggo, East Java, is a popular affair. About 50 teams took part in this year's edition, which was held yesterday as part of festivities to mark Indonesia's 72nd Independence Day.

The race is also a celebration of the agrarian lifestyle in these parts of Indonesia.

Buffaloes are brought to the race ground dressed up for the event. Competing jockeys then stand on a wooden structure secured to their buffaloes and race their bovines through a waterlogged rice field to the finish line.

The trick lies in being able to control two buffaloes as they sprint at terrifying speeds. Things can get messy, and sometimes dangerous, when jockeys lose their balance in the middle of a race.

Indonesia's Independence Day, which falls on Aug 17, is usually commemorated with pomp and pageantry mixed with fun and games.

This year saw various events inspired by Indonesia's multiculturalism and rich history, including traditional dance performances, pole-climbing contests and pillow fights.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2017, with the headline 'Wet and wild fun in the village'. Print Edition | Subscribe