Langkawi Craft Cultural
Legends and lore of long ago
As legendary as the beauty of Langkawi are the mysterious lores
themselves of long ago which add to the allure of the islands.
The legend of Mahsuri and the curse of
the seven generations
Mahsuri was the beautiful daughter of two Muslim Siamiese immigrants.
Unjustly accused of adultery by her mother-in-law who was jealous
of her beauty and popularity, Mahsuri was sentenced to death.
At her execution by stabbing with a sacred keris or
dagger, the villagers were shocked to discover that the blood
flowing from her body was white, signifying her innocence.
With her dying breath, Mahsuri placed a curse on
the island of Langkawi that it would not prosper for seven generations.
Soon after, the village was invaded and the crops destroyed. Whether
fact or fiction, it has only been recently that Langkawi has started
to really prosper, after seven generations of hardship and obscurity.
The legend of Pulau Dayang Bunting
Legend has it that the waters from the lake at Pulau Dayang Bunting
can bestow fertility upon barren women, making it a popular spot
with visitors. This lake was supposed to have been the favourite
bathing place of Putri Dayang Sari, a celestial princess. One
day, an early prince, Putera Teja, chanced upon her while she
was bathing and was immediately smitten.
His attempts to woo her with songs and poetry were in vain,
so in desperation, he turned to a wise man for advice. He was
told to wash his face with the tears of a mermaid to win the favour
of the princess. His ploy worked indeed and he married the princess.
She then gave birth to a baby who died, which was when she discovered
that her marriage was through trickery. After burying her baby
in the lake, she blessed it with magical fertility powers and
returned to the heavens, never to appear again.
The legend of Mat Cincang and Mat Raya(Feud
of Two Families)
These were two giants who apparently dramatically transformed
the landscape of the main island. Mat Raya had planned a grand
feast to celebrate the engagement of his daughter to Mat Cincangs
Unfortunately, the young man was caught flirting with another
maiden at the party, an indiscretion that resulted in a raging
battle between the two families.
Where the engagement ring was flung became known
as Tanjung Cincin or Cape of the Ring; the broken
crockery became the village of Belange Pecah or Broken
crockery; the spilt gravy becameKuah or gravy; Kisap
or to seep in became the name of the village where
the gravy seeped through the land; and the Hot Springs at Air
Hangat is apparently the spot where the cauldron of hot water
was broken. As for the two giants, they were turned into the mountains
of stone, Gunung Mat Cincang and Gunung Mat Raya, and Mat Sawar
who tried to mediate between them was transformed into the hill
which now separates the two mountains.
The legend of Telaga Tujuh
The Seven Wells or Telaga Tujuh are actuarially
a series of seven large tells of fairies who delight in bathing
in the cool waters which are supposed to possess soothing healing
properties. A mountain prince who once lived near the wells tried
to capture one of these fairy maidens, but until today, they have
The legend of the Fiery Phoenix
It is said
that in ancient times, the emperors of Rome and China arranged
for their respective children to be married to forge close ties.
The mythical Phoenix was opposed to the match, fearing that such
a merger would mean an end to smaller kingdoms. It vowed to thwart
the marriage, failing which it would banish itself from the world.
The Phoenix abducted the Chinese princess and kept
her prisoner in Langkawi. It also attacked the galley carrying
the Roman prince who then fell into the sea. Fortunately, the
prince was washed ashore on Langkawi island and brought to the
Chinese princesss pavilion where the couple was then reunited.
Realizing the union was the will of God, the Phoenix kept its
vow and left the earthly world. To this day, the beautiful sunsets
and rainbows on the island serve as a reminder of this beautiful