THE BALINESE RANGDA

Image: By Yanajin33 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28405296

In Balinese mythology, Rangda is the queen of witches who has an ugly face, sharp fangs, tousled hair and long fingernails. She also has a bad temper and is as cunning as a fox.

It is said that Rangda was probably the Queen Mahendradatta who lived on Java Island in the 11th century. She was exiled by King Dharmodayana because she was accused for allegedly bewitching the king’s second wife.

Rangda was deeply provoked and took revenge by slaughtering half of the king’s family members with the help of witches and evil spirits. Later, she crowned herself queen and ruled the country.

Rangda means widow in ancient Javanese language. However, it had been used less and less as this word was considered negative by the Javanese in olden days.

Rangda is the important character in Balinese traditional dance. Sendratari is the very dance that displays the fight between Rangda and Barong. It means the war of good against evil and the negative power will always be the loser.

There are many kinds of Rangda in Bali and it’s too hard to differentiate as most of them have similar appearances. No matter how awful they are, the locals and tourists like them very much.

Nyinga is a kind of Rangda that has a lion’s face with protruding cheek bones and she looks wild and fierce.

Nyeleme is another kind of Rangda that has a wider humanlike face and she looks rigid and eerie.

Raksasa is the Rangda that has a big face of a giant and she’s very scary. Whenever she dances, she’ll scare off children standing around her.

Besides the queen of all witches, Rangda is also the sovereign ruler of the leaks. According to the Balinese, leak is someone who practices black magic. A leak looks normal in the daytime and she’s not different from an ordinary human being.

The leak often goes out to suck the blood of a pregnant woman or a new born baby. Besides this, she has the ability of separating her head from her body. Afterwards, the vicious head flies out the window and arrive at the cemetery. A leak is very fond of eating the flesh of a corpse that will let her improve black magic power.

There are lots of horror movies which show us the flying heads at midnight. Perhaps the film makers are inspired by the Balinese mythology. Watching ghost movie is another kind of entertainment. A lot of people watch horror movies just for their own amusements.

Palasik is a horror movie starring Siti Badriah the dangdut singer. It is based on the legend of west Sumatra. One who masters the Palasik witchcraft is capable to terrify and prey on fetuses and new born babies.

In the movie, a poor woman was accused that she had just given birth to a baby who would inherit her Palasik black magic. Fortunately the new born baby was saved by an old woman, but the mother was burned to death by the villagers.

The old woman wanted to take revenge as she was fed up with the cruelty of the offenders. She intended to temporarily entrust the baby to a person and she was rejected because she didn’t have money.

Some villagers suggested that the old woman should go to a rich family and hopefully they would have mercy on the baby. Siti Badriah and Joe Richard starred as the rich couple.

Before entrusting the baby to the rich family, the old woman promised that she would come back after the baby had grown up and ready for the revenge.

Many years later, the villagers were terrorized by a flying head. A lot of innocent people became the victims of the black magic. Some scenes are scary enough to raise your adrenaline level. Those who have heart disease shouldn’t go to see this movie.

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