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Hindu Kasada Festival of Indonesia: Offerings to Mount Bromo – Active Volcano

The ancient thanksgiving rituals of the Kasada festival have been integral to the lives of Indonesia’s Tenggerese people for centuries. The increasingly unpredictable weather has made seeking divine blessings even more vital for this farming Hindu community. The ritual is held usually in the month of June.

The Tenggerese live in numerous villages within a national park surrounding Mount Bromo, one of Indonesia’s many active volcanoes. During the Yadnya Kasada festival, Tenggerese Hindu worshippers carry offerings known as "Ongkek," made up of crops, vegetables, fruits, and flowers, as they walk towards Mount Bromo’s crater. This festival has been celebrated since the 13th century, during the era of the Majapahit Empire, as a way to express devotion and gratitude to their ancestors and gods.

Throughout the month of Kasada, the ninth month of the Tenggerese Hindu calendar, the festival is marked by various rituals and ceremonies. Traditional music played on instruments like the 'Ketipung' sets the tone for the celebrations. As the full moon rises, the Tenggerese Hindus embark on a hike towards the top of their sacred mountain.

Around midnight, thousands of worshippers gather at the base of Mount Bromo, beginning their procession by the light of torches and moonlight. The offerings, which often include cigarettes, money, spring onions, and livestock, are carried to the volcano's peak.

Upon reaching the top, pilgrims light incense, pray, and chant before throwing their offerings into the crater. This ceremony, held to honor the god Sang Hyang Widhi, has been a tradition dating back to the 13th-15th century.

The Yadnya Kasada festival is not only a testament to the Tenggerese people's enduring cultural and religious traditions but also a vital part of their efforts to seek blessings and ensure the well-being of their community in the face of changing environmental conditions.

You can view pictures of the festival and read more about the festival and climate change challenges faced by the Hindu community here at Reuters.