Mount Bromo on Java

by Putu Sayoga

The new Poland (Issue III/2021)


Photo: Putu Sayoga

Once a year, between June and August, the Tengger people on the Indonesian island of Java observe the Kasada ritual. The Tenggers, who live around the island's many volcanoes, take offerings and climb Mount Bromo in eastern Java, which is still active. When they reach its summit, they pray and throw their offerings - such as goats, chickens and vegetables - into the crater. In doing so, they honour the mountain god of Mount Bromo in order to make him lenient and prevent him from sparking a volcanic eruption. The Tengger people have been practicing the Kasada ritual for centuries and for many generations.

The ritual hails from the legend of the couple Joko Seger and Roto Anteng, who are considered the ancestors of the Tengger. As the story goes, they wished to have children, so one day they asked the mountain god to give them offspring. The god heard their prayers and blessed them with 25 children - but on the condition that they sacrificed the 25th child to him. The couple was to throw it into the crater. Joko and Roto loved Kusuma, their 25th child, and kept delaying the sacrifice. As a result, the mountain god became so angry that Mount Bromo erupted. Joko and Roto gave in and sacrificed Kusuma with a heavy heart. At exactly that moment, the volcano erupted again. The Tengger remind themselves of this story by offering their sacrifices to the mountain god every year right up to this day.

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