5 Things about Kasada Tradition on Mount Bromo

Tenggerese people are an ethnic subgroup of the Javanese. They live in sixty villages around Mount Bromo inside the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. They have an annual tradition which is Yadnya Kasada, also known as Kesodo, which is a traditional Hindu ritual . The ritual is for the Tenggerese people to express their appreciation to their Gods, who have granted them with blessings, abundance and welfare. Let see more about this tradition, here are the 5 things about  Kasada tradition on Mount Bromo.

1. History

During the reign of King Brawijaya on the Majapahit Kingdom, there was a couple named Roro Anteng and Joko Seger. The couple has followers from the upper slopes of Mount Bromo. They settled in the village Tengger which is named after their own name, Teng from Roro Anteng and Ger from Joko Seger. Behind their success of ruling the Tengger village, they have their own sadness since they are childless for many years. One day they ask for children, then the Gods granted their wish by giving them 25 children but on the condition that their 25th child must be thrown into the volcano as a human sacrifice. They followed the Gods order which now turns into the tradition of offering sacrifices that is thrown into the volcano. Instead of human, today they sacrifice chickens, goats and vegetables.

There are actually other versions of this legend, some say that the God was angry because the couple didn’t fulfill their promise so one of their children sacrifice himself into the fire that was sprayed in the crater of Mount Bromo. Another legend said that, one of their children sacrifice himself after Roro Anteng and Joko Seger told them about the promise that they haven’t fulfilled, so that child went to jump inside the crater and told his parents and the Tenggerese people to throw him offerings every year.

2. Time and Place

As stated before this Kadasa is a tradition, this is a tradition that is held annually. The day of this tradition is according to the traditional Hindu Tengger calendar which is the 14th day on the Kasada month every year. There are 3 important places in the process of Kasada :

  1. Rumah Dukun Adat
  2. Pura Poten Luhur
  3. Crater of Mount Bromo

The ceremony of Kasada is started by midnight until dawn, to celebrate this the preparation started from 00.00. The first thing is moving from in front of the Rumah Dukun Adat and get to Pura Luhur Poten around 04.00.  A week before the ceremony dukun pandita will do semeninga, which is a ceremony prepation for telling the Gods that the ritual is ready to be done. During the ceremony when reaching the Pura Luhur Poten then the semeninga is done again. The Kasada will be done by travelling from Pura Luhur Poten to the crater of Mount Bromo.

3. Offerings

The next thing about Kasada tradition on Mount Bromo is offerings. The offerings are thrown into the crater, the goal is to avoid from disaster and given prosperity by their ancestor. Usually the offerings have two important aspect which are head hunk and head hanging. For some people who has special request needs to bring chicken or goat as offerings. Beside these important and special aspect, the offerings include vegetables, fruits, livestock and flowers, even some may have money as offerings.

Before the offerings are thrown, it is all set in the crater rim. On top of the offerings there is an incense that is lit up. When the offerings are thrown inside the crater, a few people go down in the crater slope. Risking their life to catch the offerings that is thrown from the crater rim. The people who go down on the slope crater have prepared some kind of net or even unfurl tarpaulin so they can catch the offerings.

4. Interpretation

The Kasada ritual has a different interpretation by every circle, it can depend on the point of view of meaning. The tradition is interpreted as confirmation of cosmologi by the Tengger community, that Mount Bromo is the centre of the world. This was revealed in the ancient times when building a house it is faced to Mount Bromo. The Kasada is also an identity of Tengger community as the children of Majapahit descent. Currently not only the Tenggerese that is Hindu but also Tenggerese people that are Muslim or Christian who has moved out will come and gather to follow the Kasada ritual.

5. Tourist

The Kasada tradition is included in the Top 30 Events Calender of Event Wonderful Indonesia 2019 by Ministry of Tourism Republik Indonesia. Today, leading up to the event there are various tour operators and travel agents have already prepared tour packages for Kasada tradition. Hotels and transportation businesses as well as tourism stakeholders are making necessary preparations to take part and witness this age old tradition that has attracted many tourist both domestic and foreign.  It is best to spend 1 or 2 nights at Ngadisari if you want to watch the ritual, because as mentioned before the rituals take place since midnight or early morning.

Now we know more by seeing the 5 things about Kasada tradition on Mount Bromo. The Kasada ritual will be preserved in any condition. The people believe that this ritual in the mountain needs to be done, even if Mount Bromo status right now is on alert, eruption, hard rain or strong winds. In 2019, Mount Bromo status was Level II alert but the ceremony is still done because it is a tradition. Eksotika Bromo Festival is held as part of the Kasada ritual that is organized by the regency administration to develop traditional culture and art activities in the community to help lure tourists to the region.