The Queen Of The South-Sea has been described in a lot of characters. Some think She is rather like a Queen Neptune, with a court of attractive nymphs and other not so attractive guards whose green hair is encrusted with shells, limpets, and seaweed. Javanese mystics do have "seen" the most unbelievable creatures with their own eyes.
The fishermen of Pelabuhan Ratu celebrate a special sea ceremony mostly held on April 5 - 6, every year, named the Pesta Nelayan. This traditional ceremony is a great attraction in which fishermen community presents sailing decorated boats and art performances. Young women dress themselves as beautifull nymphs to show the dedicated South-Sea Goddess their affection. It is truly a glorious ceremony you'll never forget once witnessed ...
As the name indicates Pantai Karang Hawu is not your ideal sandy beach: karang means rock. And the rocky coast is full of potholes, where sea water remains at low tide.
Here we witnessed some women performing a ritual bath - perhaps hoping for eternal youth or many children? They went from pothole to pothole immersing themselves.
The man did not take part in the bathing. His role was to strew flower petals on the water before the women get in.
Directions: Karang Hawu Beach is about 12 km west of Pelabuhanratu.
At the ceremonial traditions of the opening of the Samudra Beach Hotel at 15th. of February, 1966, there was a very special ceremony. However, this ceremony got interfered in a cruel way with a hurricane-like terrible storm. Rumor has it the Queen Of Segara Kidul had not been invited nor even warned. Neither a ritual nor a ceremony had been performed.
From then on under Sukarno's instructions, Room 308 at the Samudra Beach Hotel has always been left vacant, special dedicated to Nyai Loro Kidul since then ... over the years, the Samudra Beach Hotel has turned Room 308 into a shrine to the Nyai Loro Kidul legend, which may be visited by guests. Ask locals around for some legendary tellings about ...
The moment you enter Indonesia the smell of clove will reach your nose immediately. The famous Indonesian cigarettes are clove flavored and called "KRETEK". To many Indonesians everywhere, kretek is their best companion, enjoyable and tasteful which gives them the relax needs to relieve when difficult feelings.
Legendary telling: >>>
There was a man from the town of Kudus, named Notot Semito, who suffered from asthma and had a bad cough. Too desperate for finding some cure to his illness he rolled tobacco that he mixed with klobot (cloves, all crushed in dried corn leaves). And see ... the original KRETEK cigarettes became famous.
So this man became healthy from smoking KRETEK and built his own trademark. Every day he marketed his KRETEK all around, and became a very wealthy man. Unfortunately the "Father of KRETEK" got bankrupt when crashing his own industry in 1953.
Javanese folklorists and spiritual experts distinct Kanjeng Ratu Kidul and Nyi Roro Kidoel/Nyai Loro Kidul as two different figures. Kanjeng Ratu Kidul is described as the Queen herself. She wears a high crown and never shows Herself to general public but only to the royal kings of Java and Bali.
But the other one, Nyi Roro Kidoel, is as a matter of fact the one playing her role as the chief of arm forces, in Indonesian called Patih. Nyi Roro only wears a tiara, sometimes with Her knot tied, sometimes with loose hair. Nyi Roro Kidoel, the "Virgin Maid", is the one who is believed to be responsible for a lot of sickness with the locals. Possibly they have watched her taking a bath in the waves.
Many people claim to have encountered with Nyi Roro Kidoel along the South coast of Java. It is told that the Nyai Loro Kidul is a later form of the sick and wicked Patih, extremely dangerous and always hungry for handsome young males ... Locals believe she is responsable for the loss of many swimmers along the beach and most of them are males, wearing green bathing suits. It is believed that they are kidnapped to be the slaves into the Kanjeng Ratu Kidul's Sea Kingdom. Their voices resound within the strong waves and her color is yellow-green. That why it is told never wear the color of green within your clothes ... never !!!
It became a local custom and nobody knows exactly the original start of it ... or why the Spirit-queen "claimed" this forbidden colour... along the whole South coast of Java!
painting by Roy Java
KEBERSAMAAN DALAM KOSMOS
Cosmic Gathering/Kosmisch Samenzijn
copyrighted Roy James Doehne 1997
Kebersamaan Dalam Kosmos
From Pelabuhan Ratu we visited the Valley of the ancient Citarum River and Padalarang (some 18 km West of Bandung). A hell of a trip, though we got our "kentongans", famous warning symbols and "original made in Padalarang" (mostly visited by tourist-groups in a rush)!
Local villagers used to beat kentongan to alert people to danger such as fire or natural disaster. Village officials might also have beaten kentongan to summon people when they wanted to make an announcement.
Kentongans are made of special wood and traditional some music groups do use the thek-thek bamboo kentongan tubes as their main instrument. Though we got the very traditional "Ratu Kidul Kentongan", ie. a Queen and a Mermaid. These kentongans are very rare to get, because they get created on special days before April 6th,... because of the special festival and, the locals love these kentongans!
Together with the Balinese women the females of Sunda got assigned of a remarkable look of Indonesian beauty. May the Balinese girls look more natural, the Sundanese looks are more mysterious and some dreamy. You'll notice when hiking West-Java ...
Be this as it the Sundanese beauty that's what puzzles me all the time. Their little noses, long sweeping eyelashes, heart-shaped lips and smooth, tanned skin will strike you for sure. It's well-known the Sundanese, once very exuberant and cheerful, are of more modest life for now, with legendary philosophy of life ...
With thanks to my Sundanes dearest friend Intan >>> see pic
Even the whole world is getting concerned about smoking a cigarette, Indonesian people love to have a chat (ngobrol) when once familiar with tourists, and smoke a kretek (Indonesia's indigenous clove cigarette, and part of their culture and traditions). The "ngobrol-ngobrol" style of speech is a superb example of pure and simple, with the aim of "telling it like it is", without overdoing and, a kretek between the lips.
So,... even not smoking, one of the easiest ways to make friends around Indonesia is simply offering a kretek cigarette. You can buy these in any grocery, round the corner of any street, anywhere (Gudang Garam, Sampoerna, Bentoel, Djarum, Dji sam soe and others). In restaurants, shops, public buildings, pubs, bars, discoteques, on the land, along the beach and in many other places outdoor, the sweet smoke from kretek cigarettes is smelt ...
Sit, anywhere, at Pelabuhan Ratu beautiful bay and face the immense Indian Ocean. You may imagine how a legendary Queen got crowned here to the Spirit-Queen. The translation into "Harbour Queen" is in respect of the Goddess Of The Southern Ocean, RATU KIDUL, known to the Sundanese people as Nyai Loro Kidul ...
Most of the families are truly ocean-people and the locals and fishermen do celebrate the Queen's birthday every on April 6. Ceremonies, rituals and sacrifies are held and a buffalo's head is taken out to the ocean. When the Queen is happy She will bless the people with vertile seasons ...
As the head is regarded as the seat of the soul, and is therefore sacred, Asian people donot want to be touched on the head. It is also seen that Javanese duck their head, or passing someone with dropped shoulder. It is Javanese traditional culture and its mark of respect.
When handing over or receiving things remember to use the RIGHT hand - the LEFT hand is used after you've been to the toilet ... they use a bottle of water to clean, so these bottles stand in a corner in the toilet... still in Holland with the Indo-families (NB: ... not to drink this water!). So the left hand is considered "unclean"! Also donot touch food with your left-hand.
See the way Javanese fishermen describe the legendary Spirit-queen when they "meet" Her (watch for the little fisherman's boat). "Greenish-Fascinating-Heavenly-Enormous-Radiating-Undiluted-Protecting-Moving-Gigantic" ... and above all ... "Dangerous and Feminine" is the answer. They can't tell you how She's looking like in a material way; Her dress, Her make-up, Her body. Some tell about Her konde, or very complicated hair-coil, not any woman could copy the style of Her hair-coil. They mention the magnificent crown, like a radiating halo. Don't ask any Javanese about these matters in public. You'll get a lovely smile, a shy gesture you should read the fairy-tales of Java ... Don't blame them for that, it is already difficult to describe a spirit, let alone a spirit-queen with the name of Ratu Kidul, Queen of the South. It belongs to their local believes, and customs ...
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