The legend of Mount Bromo traces back to the fifteenth century, when the princess of the East Javanese empire of Majapahit, Roro Anteng, and her husband, Joko Seger, came to the Bromo region. They named the region Tengger—a combination of their last names (Anteng and Seger). Their region prospered, but the ruling couple found themselves unable to conceive. They prayed to the gods from Mount Bromo’s edge. The gods agreed to give them children on the condition that they throw into the crater the last child born as a sacrifice. Soon they gave birth to their first child, and were blessed with many more.
When the twenty-fifth child, Kesuma, was born, Roro learned that this would be their last and would have to be sacrificed. She refused. This angered the gods, and they threatened to spew volcanic fire over the land. In order to protect their kingdom, the couple followed through on their promise. It is said that the child’s voice was heard shortly after, ordering the Tengger people, and all their descendants, to perform an annual ceremony to commemorate the event and appease the still angry gods.
Keeping The Legend Alive
To this day, the community comes together annually for the Kasodo Ceremony, which is held in a temple at the foot of the mountain. On the fourteenth day of the ceremony they travel up the mountain. Crowds gather on Bromo’s sand sea at midnight. They bring their offerings for the gods to throw into the crater. The ceremony is a spectacle of villagers walking around the edge with offerings of fruit baskets on their heads, or cages containing small animals, each decorated with flowers.
Mount Bromo holds a unique magic. It is a place where legend is kept alive, still whispering from the rumbling depths of the earth itself.