The Yad­nya Kasada rit­ual at Mount Bromo

Bali & Beyond - - TEAM TALK - By Reza Fitriyanto

On the 14th day of the month of Kasada (a Teng­ger Tribe’s cal­en­dar) dur­ing Full Moon, all the Hindu peo­ple who live at the foot of Mount Bromo in East Java gather to cel­e­brate the Yad­nya Kasada cer­e­mony, an an­cient rit­ual that has been passed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion. The rit­ual is com­pul­sory for the Teng­ger Tribe as a sym­bol of wor­ship and be­ing grate­ful to Sang Hyang Widhi (God).

Ac­cord­ing to the Ja­vanese peo­ple who still hold on to their ‘ke­jawen’ prin­ci­ples – ke­jawen is an an­cient Ja­vanese be­lief –, the moun­tains are sa­cred ar­eas where their God and the soul of their an­ces­tors re­side. The Teng­ger Tribe shares the same an­ces­tors with the Ja­vanese, and they be­lieve that Mount Bromo is the supreme sym­bol of the Sang Hyang Widhi’s throne. Lo­cated in Probol­inggo re­gion, Mount Bromo has be­come a sa­cred place to wor­ship their God and an­ces­tors.


Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal folk­lore, the Yad­nya Kasada is a tra­di­tion to seek safety and pros­per­ity from Sang Hyang Widhi. The rit­ual has been held for cen­turies, since the first day hu­mans oc­cu­pied the foot of Mount Bromo to be ex­act.

An­other folk­lore also men­tions

that to­wards to the fall of the Ma­japahit King­dom with Prabu Braw­i­jaya V sit­ting on the throne in the 16th cen­tury, lived a princess named Dewi Rara An­teng. She was the daugh­ter of one of the king’s con­cu­bines. Wars hap­pened in Trowu­lan, the cap­i­tal city of Ma­japahit King­dom, which led to a huge ex­o­dus. Most of the Ma­japahit peo­ple moved to the east­ern ar­eas, like Blam­ban­gan (Banyuwangi) area, Bali and Lom­bok.

How­ever, Dewi Rara An­teng to­gether with her hus­band (Raden Jaka Seger) and their guards and fol­low­ers took a dif­fer­ent route. They ran to the foot of Mount Bromo. Once they came to safety, Dewi Rara An­teng and Raden Jaka Seger started a new life there to­gether with all of the peo­ple who fol­lowed them. The cou­ple ruled the Teng­ger re­gion, and achieved the ti­tle “Pur­bowas­esa Mangku­rat Ing Teng­ger” which means “the kind ruler of Teng­ger”. The Teng­ger re­gion’s name is derived from the names of the con­querors, Dewi Rara An­teng (Teng) and Raden Jaka Seger (Ger).

Dewi Rara An­teng and Raden Jaka Seger lived hap­pily with their peo­ple. The foot of Mount Bromo was a fer­tile land where har­vests grew abun­dantly. How­ever, af­ter years of liv­ing in peace, the cou­ple hadn’t had any chil­dren yet. Thus, they med­i­tated on the top of Mount Bromo (Brahma), right at the edge of the crater.

When mid­night came, Dewi Rara An­teng and Raden Jaka Seger heard whispers, say­ing that their wish would come true with one con­di­tion; they would have to give up their last born to the crater of Mount Bromo. The cou­ple agreed, and they fi­nally got chil­dren – 25 chil­dren to be ex­act. The last born was named Raden Hadi Kusuma. He was the one to be sac­ri­ficed, yet he grew up to be a strong man.

Dewi Rara An­teng and Raden Jaka Seger didn’t have the heart to give Raden Hadi Kusuma up. They broke their prom­ise, and it made the God an­gry. One day, the sky above the Teng­ger re­gion turned dark and Mount Bromo ex­ploded. Raden Hadi Kusuma dis­ap­peared into the fire

and was sucked into the crater of Mount Bromo. When the tragedy hap­pened, a voice sim­i­lar to that of Raden Hadi Kusuma’s res­onated, say­ing that he had been sac­ri­ficed for the safety of all Teng­ger peo­ple. The voice also re­minded the peo­ple to al­ways wor­ship Sang Hyang Widhi and that they have to sac­ri­fice farm an­i­mals and har­vests on the 14th day of the month of Kasada.

That was the be­gin­ning of Yad­nya Kasada rit­ual of Teng­ger peo­ple in Mount Bromo. A rit­ual that is still per­formed un­til to­day.


The Yad­nya Kasada rit­ual started with lo­cal priests – who were hand­s­e­lected by se­nior priests through a tra­di­tional meet­ing – chant­ing some prayers. Af­ter­wards, the Teng­ger peo­ple brought ongkek (of­fer­ings) up to the top of Mount Bromo – the of­fer­ing con­sisted of har­vests, some money and farm an­i­mals, all are given up to the crater of Mount Bromo. This pro­ces­sion is the peak of the Yad­nya Kasada cer­e­mony that takes place on the edge of the crater. A day prior to this cer­e­mony, the peo­ple send up some prayers in tem­ples and col­lect holy wa­ter from a cage in Mount Wi­do­daren, not far from Mount Bromo.

The Teng­ger peo­ple be­lieve that the Yad­nya Kasada rit­ual will keep them safe from catas­tro­phe and give them pros­per­ity with abun­dant farm an­i­mals and har­vests. This rit­ual is not only a sym­bol of pro­tec­tion and grate­ful­ness to Sang Hyang Widhi, but also a trib­ute to Raden Hadi Kusuma and his other 24 sib­lings from Dewi Rara An­teng and Raden Jaka Seger, as the fam­ily is the an­ces­tors of the Teng­ger Tribe.

The Teng­ger peo­ple climb the Mount Bromo to per­forme the Yad­nya Kasada.

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