Sangkuriang Folklore: A Forbidden Love Story with a Natural Mother

Sangkuriang Folklore: A Forbidden Love Story with a Natural Mother

Indonesia is a country rich in culture, beliefs and traditions. One of the most valuable treasures that Indonesia possesses is its vast collection of folklore, stories that have been passed down through generations, capturing the essence of the country’s history, beliefs, and traditions. Sangkuriang is one such folklore that depicts a tragic story of forbidden love, depicting the complex human emotions of love, despair, and tragedy. Let’s take a closer look at one of the most loved indonesian folklore stories in Indonesia: Cerita Rakyat Sangkuriang.


Cerita Rakyat Sangkuriang tells the story of a young man named Sangkuriang, who falls deeply in love with a beautiful maiden but later discovers that the woman he loves is none other than his own mother. This folk story originated from West Java, Indonesia. The story is often told during cultural performances like the traditional puppet show and has been passed on from grandparents to grandchildren for decades.

The Story:

Sangkuriang, the protagonist of the story, was a young prince who was renowned for his intelligence, good looks, and courage. He was the only son of his father named Tumang who was a king of a small kingdom in West Java. Sangkuriang was an adventurous young man who loved to hunt, and it was during one of his hunting expeditions that he stumbled upon a beautiful young woman named Dayang Sumbi (the main female character of the story) who was bathing in a nearby river.

Sangkuriang was immediately smitten by her beauty and fell in love with her instantly. Dayang Sumbi soon found out about Sangkuriang’s feelings towards her and told him that she will only marry him if he managed to produce a large lake and a boat within a single night. Sangkuriang, confident in his abilities, accepted the challenge and set about to create the lake and boat.

To complete the task, Sangkuriang gained the help of supernatural beings who worked alongside him throughout the night. But as the sun started to rise, it became evident that the prince would be unable to complete the task. Sangkuriang, desperate to fulfill the challenge and win the hand of Dayang Sumbi, became angry and started to tear down the dam he had been building, flooding the area and throwing the entire village into chaos.

Dayang Sumbi, upon seeing the destruction and chaos that Sangkuriang had caused, was devastated and decided to flee from the area. In the process, she cursed Sangkuriang, saying that he would never find true love, he would live alone forever with only the company of dogs, and that his offspring would one day cause his own downfall.

Years passed, and Sangkuriang grew into a powerful and wealthy king. During one of his hunting expeditions, he stumbled upon a beautiful young woman who had wandered into the forest. Her beauty reminded him of Dayang Sumbi, and he was struck by her resemblance to the woman who had broken his heart.

Sangkuriang invited the woman to be his bride, and she accepted. However, on the day of the wedding, Dayang Sumbi realized that the young woman was actually her own son, Sangkuriang. She tried to stop the wedding, but it was too late, as the ceremony had already taken place.

In a moment of anguish and desperation, Dayang Sumbi had to reveal their true identity to Sangkuriang. Realizing the truth, Sangkuriang was filled with grief and killed his mother in a rage. When he finally realized that he had killed his own beloved mother, he felt so much remorse and despair that he decided to throw himself into the sea. As he did, a strong whirlwind arose, lifting him up into the sky, where he was transformed into a mountain, which is known today as Mount Tangkuban Perahu, located in West Java, Indonesia.


The story of Cerita Rakyat Sangkuriang is a heart-wrenching tale of forbidden love, tragic consequences, and curses. It is a powerful reminder of the dangers of acting out of anger, jealousy and desperation, and how it can ultimately destroy lives. However, despite the sorrowful nature of the story, it also offers some valuable lessons about human nature, including the importance of honesty, family, and forgiveness. By learning from the experiences and mistakes of Sangkuriang and Dayang Sumbi, it is possible to live our lives with wisdom and compassion, even in the face of significant challenges and obstacles. The story of Cerita Rakyat Sangkuriang is one of the most beloved folklore stories in Indonesia, and it truly captures the richness and diversity of Indonesia’s culture and customs.

read also The Legend of Roro Jonggrang: The Story of a Bat Who Becomes a Princess and the Construction of the Largest Temple in Central Java


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