The traditional music from the Tengger tribe resounded from Pendapa Agung Ngadisari Village, Sukapura District, Probolinggo Regency, East Java Province. The music accompanied the arrival of thousands of Tengger Hindus and domestic and foreign tourists. They attended the night of the Yadnya Kasada reception or ceremony, a typical ritual of the Tengger Tribe, a tribe which spread across 60 villages around Mount Bromo including Probolinggo, Lumajang, Pasuruan and Malang.

In addition to gamelan music, guests were treated to a performance of the Nine God dance and the Roro Anteng and Joko Seger dance. This dance which is considered sacred for Tengger’s residents tells the legend of the origin of the Tengger people.

According to the legend of the Tengger people, they are the descendants of the couple Roro Anteng and Joko Seger. After years of marriage without children, both of them meditated and prayed to God. They promised to sacrifice one of their children or offer it to the crater of Mount Bromo.

Eventually they were blessed with 25 children they loved, but forgot about their promise to sacrifice one of their children. All their children refused to be sacrificed, but the eldest Jaya Kusuma was willing to be sacrificed to meet the God Brahma or Bromo to pay off the promise of his parents.

Jaya Kusuma conveyed that people of Roro Anteng and Joko Seger or Tengger descent made offerings of produce to Bromo crater on the 14th of Kasada month according to the Tengger calendar.

After the reception night, the residents continued with the Yadnya Kasada ceremony at Pura Agung, one kilometer from the crater of Mount Bromo. Thousands of Tengger Hindus wore traditional clothing, walking as far as five kilometers from the village to Pura Agung since 12.00 a.m. They went hand in hand partly shouldering various agricultural produce such as vegetables, fruit and snacks.

The Tengger Hindus flocked at the Great Temple. They sat cross-legged solemnly listening to the song and praise while praying. A number of shamans or leaders of Tengger Hindus lined up, sitting cross-legged wearing white clothes and a typical headband of the Tengger Tribe.

The shamans burned incense on the brazier, while chanting mantras and prayers. Various offerings of agricultural produce were arranged neatly in front and side of the shamans. Towards dawn, Shaman Pandita Sutomo announced the ritual ceremony and read the legendary story of the Tengger community in the Tengger language. These were followed by reading prayers and spells to deliver offerings to Mount Bromo.

After the Yadnya Kasada ritual at Pura Agung, the Tengger Hindus rushed to carry the  ongkek (containers) of agricultural produce. They walked together to the crater of Mount Bromo. Arriving at the Bromo crater rim, all the crops were thrown into the crater.

Bromo Crater issued volcanic ash and the rising smoke soared from the crater. The smell of sulfur was smothering in the chest. Occasionally dark smoke came out, volcanic ash flushed the Tengger Hindus who followed Yadnya Kasada. Nearing sunrise, the entire offering process was over.

The Yadnya Kasada ritual is also a tourist attraction. Probolinggo Regency Government seeks to package it into a tourist show that is able to attract domestic and foreign tourists. International tourist arrivals have increased since cruise ships arrive 12 times a year. However, a number of tourists had canceled a visit to Bromo after hearing the news that the Mount Bromo volcano was closed due to an eruption. This practically made the visit of foreign tourists decline.

The beauty of Mount Bromo does not fade despite an eruption. Tourists can observe volcanic activity, puffs of smoke and volcanic ash but remains in a safe area. Based on the recommendation from the Center for Volcanology Mitigation and Geological Disasters, tourists maintain a maximum distance of a kilometer radius from the crater rim.

Local residents also scrambled to catch offerings of agricultural produce. They lined up around the crater carrying nets to catch the offerings. One of the Tengger residents carried a goat as an offering to the crater of Mount Bromo. He and four of his friends had promised to give goat offerings if the potato plants grew well. Now, he keeps his promise to offer offerings to Lord Brahma as an expression of gratitude.

Surabaya, 11 February 2020