Thousands of members of the Hindu Tengger community, who live on the slopes of Mount Bromo, carried offerings, heirlooms and other items to the Widodaren spring to perform the Melasti ceremony on Sunday, March 3, 2019 .
The ceremony was carried out by Hindus living in the Mt Bromo area, which include Pasuruan and Probolinggo regencies in East Java. It was part of a series of ceremonies to welcome Nyepi (Day of Silence). The theme of this year’s ceremony is “Melalui Catur Brata Penyepian, Kita Sukseskan Pemilu 2019” (through the four steps of silence, we wish the 2019 elections a success).
The Widodaren spring is located in a cave about 500 meters west of Mt. Bromo. Tengger people consider the cave sacred and the spring water is used for worship.
The rain did not deter the Tengger people from worshipping their gods and the spirits. They paraded flags and offerings to the temple.
“We usually take the holy water from the Widodaren spring after performing Melasti but because of the heavy rains, we have to collect the water now. We will bring the water home and store it in jars for bathing and drinking,” one of the villagers, Sulist, said.
“The water can be used for bathing before the Nyepi celebration and the morning after. We will also pray at the cave to ask for safety, health and a good harvest from the gods,” the 30-year-old added.
Ngadiwono village elder, Tarmuji, said 13 villages and 13 temples were participating in the Melasti ceremony.
“We pray for tolerance and peace among the villages despite differences in political stances. We hope there will be peace during the elections in Tengger. We do not perform Melasti at the beach [as is the usual custom] as it is very far. However, the steps of performing the ritual are the same,” said the 60-year-old.
Hindus will perform an ogoh-ogoh (giant effigy) parade on Wednesday afternoon and then perform Nyepi on Thursday. The whole ceremony closes on Friday with the Ngembak Geni ceremony – which literally means restarting the fire – in each temple.[yan]