Despite the cold weather that reached 10-degree Celsius, thousands of people went to Mount Bromo on Monday morning to witness the annual Yadnya Kasada ritual.
Held on the 14th day of the Kasada month on the Hindu lunar calendar, Yadnya Kasada is a ritual practiced by Tenggerese Hindus. This year, the event was spread into a two-day festival from July 9 to 10.
"Prior to the Yadnya Kasada, there's the Eksotika Bromo pre-event which became its own attraction that eventually made the tourists spend a longer time here. Usually, tourists would only stay at Mount Bromo for one to two days, but thanks to the events they stayed three to four days this time. We saw almost 10,000 people within the three days. We're still waiting for the official data from TNBTS," said the tourism ministry's archipelago marketing development deputy, Esthy Reko Astuti.
In the press conference, Esthy also said that this event has made it into the national agenda and in the future should have better preparation that also includes local residents and communities.
"This annual activity has a tremendous effect for the locals. It's better to hold these events on decided dates so the preparation and promo activities can be executed way before the event. We must also pay attention to Beyond Bromo and sell [tourism] packages so it will have an impact in increasing the economy of Tenggerese people who live 2.329 meters above sea level," she added.
To attend the event, tourists came through Mount Bromo's four main entrance gates which are located in Pasuruan, Malang, Lumajang and Probolinggo regencies.
Pendopo Agung Desa Ngadisari (Ngadisari village Grand Hall) became the starting point of the Yadnya Kasada procession. A number of rituals commenced at 7 p.m. local time, as offerings began to be distributed to the Luhur Poten temple at the sand grounds right at the bottom of Mount Bromo.
Following the ritual, the Tengger tribe shamans, local public figures, and Tenggerese people gathered and prayed for their safety and prosperity. At dawn, the offerings are carried to the crater of Mount Bromo. The ritual procession attracts many tourists.
For the main ritual, the Tenggerese made offerings such as livestock, fruit, and vegetables to Hindu deities by throwing them into the crater of Mount Bromo. The offerings are symbols of gratitude from the people of Tengger.
In the procession, some were seen throwing out Rp. 50,000 (S$5.16) and Rp.100,000 bills as offerings and this ended up creating a bit of a chaos from people who were trying to get the money before they went into the crater.
Tourism minister Arief Yahya said the tradition has a positive impact on the local economy.
"[This tradition] can elevate the villagers' economy, especially those who sell food and beverage, also those who provide lodging. However, visitors must also be aware of their trash to keep Bromo sustainable and comfortable for tourists to stay longer so they know that Indonesia has everything. From mountains to beaches, a rich culture and incomparable natural beauty."
The event also featured traditional art performances by the Tenggerese, such as Sendratari Kidung Tengger, Kidung Tengger poetry reading, Jaranan Wahyu Tunas and others.