Banda Island Legends

Origin of the islands

Before the Banda islands were born there was only one big island. It was a volcano. Three brothers were living on Gunung Api when it erupted. Fearing for their lives, the three brothers took their wives and rose up into the sky where the stars welcomed them. For 7 days, they watched from above as their island home was torn asunder. Nine times the volcano exploded. Each time a new island was created. Seeing this the brothers flew down again. The oldest went to Neira. The second to Lonthor, and the third to Run, where they established kingdoms and their children prospered.

Cilu Bintang, her name means Shining Star, is a leading character in many Bandanese legends that illuminate important periods in the history of these islands. She was a real person, whose grave site the islanders still venerate.

Cilu Bintang

Pak Andan was a powerful and wise king on Lonthor (now Banda Besar) whose ships traded to New Guinea, Aru, and Kai islands. He married Dalima whose father was also a king. Together they had, four sons named Kaki Yai, Kele Lait, Lele Waiy, Kele Liang, and one daughter who was so beautiful they named her Shinning Star. Cilu Bintang grew into an exceptionally beautiful young woman loved and respected for her kindness and consideration toward others. Many suitors wanted to marry her, but the king refused, until one day a prince from far away came to the island on a trading mission. When he met Cilu Bentang his heart was captivated by her wisdom and beauty. They fell in love.

At first her father refused to consider their marriage. The young prince was heart broken. After presenting king Andan with many valuable presents, the prince was allowed to request her for his wife. The king heeded this request, then pronounced a bride price which included 99 nutmeg trees. At that time there were no nutmeg trees on Banda Besar.

When many of the king's people complained they did not wish to lose the beautiful Cilu Bentang, a feeling Andan shared, he made the prince agree to come and live with his family. Conditions the prince accepted on the grounds he pay the bride price first, then join the king's family when he returned the following year. The prince returned home and dispatched his younger brother to deliver the agreed bride price, along with the 99 nutmeg plants. Tragically, the prince was lost at sea when a terrible storm overtook his vessel on the way to the wedding. For 2 days of storm and 3 days of calm, Cilu Bintang stood on the beach waiting for the prince to arrive. When word came that his ship was lost, she was heart broken. For 9 days all the kings people, who loved her dearly, grieved with her. On the 9th day, she vowed never to marry another. From that day on, her life was dedicated to helping and protecting the people of Lonthor.