Mount Bromo in East Java is best known for its beautiful highlands and sea of sands. At the Pura Luhur Poten temple compound, situated 2,390 meters above sea level at the foot of Mt. Bromo, the slow beat of Javanese drums blends with traditional hymns to create a mystical atmosphere while Tengger Hindu youths and elders arrive in colorful attire. Thousands of Tengger people, some of who arrived the previous evening, patiently wait for the sacred ceremony of Yadnya Kasada to begin. Sitting side-by-side together on the temple floor and uttering incantations, 27 priests representing all the Tengger villages conduct mass prayers calling the Creator to bless the offerings before they are thrown into the crater.
Yadnya Kasada is the biggest ritual in terms of scale, and the main ceremony of the Tenggerese in Probolinggo regency, East Java. Once a year, Hindu Tengger people climb to the Mt Bromo Trekking summit to give offerings in the form of fruits, vegetables, money and livestock for the mountain gods by throwing them into the crater. The ceremony is held every 14th-15th day of the Kasada month in the traditional Hindu lunar calendar to honor Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa (The One and Almighty God).
According to Tenggerese legend, Kasada was inherited from their ancestors who were royal descendants of the Majapahit kingdom in the 14th century. The ruling king Brawijaya had his daughter Roro Anteng married to Joko Seger, a descendent of Brahmana line. When Islam spread across Java, many Hindu followers fled to Bali while others relocated to the mountainous area near Mount Bromo under the royal couple’s leadership.
After unsuccessfully trying to have children, the pair retreated to the jungle and asked the Creator for assistance in conceiving. Their request was granted with the sole condition that their youngest was to be offered as a sacrifice at the mountain’s crater.
After having 21 children, the pair hid them inside a cave in an attempt to evade sacrificing their youngest. One day a flash fire drove the children out of the cave and led the youngest to the crater, triggering rumors the sacrifice to Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa was at last going to take place.
Prior to the sacrifice, Raden Kusuma sent a message to all his siblings and other citizens to live peacefully and dedicate their lives to God. Another of his requests was that they annually perform the thanksgiving ceremony in the 12th month, or Kasada, of the year by throwing part of their harvest down the mount bromo crater than always we do full moon.