The Yadnya Kasada Ceremony on iconic Mount Bromo

1 Jul 2016

From 20th to 21st July 2016, magnificent Mount Bromo, the imposing icon of East Java, will be highlighted with a fascinating cultural attraction when the indigenous Tenggerese  who live on the slopes of  this mountain, conduct the ritual ceremony of Yadnya Kasada.

The Yadnya Kasada (or more popularly known as Kesodo) is a festival held every 14th day of the Kasada Month in the traditional Hindu lunar calendar. This ceremony is held to honor Sang Hyang Widhi, God Almighty, and is based on the ancient legend of Roro Anteng and Joko Seger.

Legend has it that a couple named Roro Anteng and Joko Seger remained childless after many years of marriage. Therefore they meditated atop Mount Bromo, beseeching the mountain gods for assistance. The gods granted them 24 children on the condition that the 25th child must be thrown into the volcano as human sacrifice. The gods’ request was observed, and so the tradition of offering sacrifices thrown into the volcano to appease the deities continues until today, but, of course, with no sacrifices of humans.  Instead, today chickens, goats and vegetables are thrown into the crater as sacrifice.

Yadnya Kasada is observed by the Tenggerese, who are descendants of the aristocracy of the once powerful 13th century Majapahit kingdom in East Java.  At the fall of the Majapahit empire they fled and took refuge in the upper slopes of Mt. Bromo. Despite the fact that the majority of Javanese have converted to Islam, this unique community , nonetheless, continues to cling to their ancient beliefs from the days of Majapahit until today. Similar to the Hindu Balinese, the Tenggerese worship Ida Sang Hyang Widi Wasa, the Almighty God, along with the Trimurti gods, of Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu, with added elements of Animism and Mahayana Buddhism.

On the day of Yadnya Kasada , devotees who have journeyed up the mountain, will pray together atop the mountain and then throw their offerings into the crater of the volcano. The sacrifice include vegetables, fruit, livestock, flowers as well as money, and are offered in grateful thanks for an abundance of agricultural produce and livestock given to them. Sometimes locals clamber down into the crater despite obvious dangers, to retrieve the sacrificed goods, which are believed to bring them good luck.

Visitors and tourists are welcome to watch this ceremony, so a number of travel agents in East Java offer special tours to Mt. Bromo starting from Surabaya or Malang, which include a pre-dawn horseback ride across the sand-sea of Bromo and the unforgettable sunrise over this mountain range.  The active volcano of Mt. Bromo forms part of the Bromo-Semeru National Park.



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