29 June 2018

Following the festival, the Yadnya Kasada Ritual Ceremony (or popularly called Kesodo) will take place on July 1st or the 14th day of the Kasada month according to the traditional Hindu lunar calendar. This ceremony is a centuries old tradition to honor Sang Hyang Widhi, God Almighty, and is based on the ancient legend of Roro Anteng and Joko Seger.

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Legend has it that after many years of marriage, the couple of Roro Anteng and Joko Seger had remained childless. They meditated at top 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 offerings into the volcano to appease the deities continues until today, although, of course, instead of humans, they are chicken, goats and vegetables that are thrown into the crater for sacrifice.

Image source: Shutterstock

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Yadnya Kasada is observed by the Tenggerese, who are descendants of the aristocracy of the once powerful 13th century Majapahit Kingdom in East Java, who took refuge in the highlands of Mt. Bromo at the fall of the Majapahit Empire. Although the majority of Javanese have converted to Islam, this unique community still clings to their ancient beliefs from the days of Majapahit until today. Like the Hindu Balinese, the Tenggerese worship Ida Sang Hyang Widi Wasa, the Almighty God, along with the Trimurti gods of Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu, with elements of Animism and Mahayana Buddhism.

Image source: https://www.viva.co.id

When Yadnya Kasada day arrives, the crowds that have climbed together up the mountain, then pray together on the mountain and throw offerings into Bromo crater. Sacrificed are  vegetables, fruit, livestock, flowers and also money, and are offered in gratitude for the bounty in agricultural produce and livestock. Some locals slide down into the crater despite obvious dangers, to retrieve the sacrificed goods, believing that these will bring good luck.

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