Plants of Cultural Symbolism (Javanese)

There are few numbers of plants symbolized the social-cultural significance for the Javanese such as: coconut, banyan ( beringin ), banana and frangipani ( kamboja ).

COCONUT: The leaves and the fruit of coconut tree are commonly used for wedding ceremony to decorate the house during the wedding and placed outside to mark the occasion. The fruit in particular kelapa gading (ivory coconut) is even painted with figures of jenaka and srikandi a famous good looking couple in wayana story and used to decorate the house in the hope that the couple would be as the wayang couple.

Coconut cannote a religious meaning for the Javanese particularly in Kejawen believes. They regarded coconut fruit is holy and used reveal the inscription of sacred words the human eye. The also regarded the water of coconut as the cure for someone who is suffering from the black magic or food poisoning.

Unlike the coconut that has well wishing and curative, THE BANANA is used for death rituals, to clean the body of the deceased the corps is placed on top of the trunk of the tree. This trunk is halved, with the flat part as the bed for the body. After the process completed it would be left at the road side and eventually removed by the street cleaners.

In Buddhist religion Banyan tree is believed to be sacred and attain enlightens, however in java banyan or beringin is used for ally boundary or markers for the village common scenery when you travel around java. It is interesting note that the tree is said to be a preference resides for gandaruwo-gigantic supernatural who is ugly and attracted young girls. Why such tree is used for that purpose? Still remain the question to the Javanese.

While the banyan tree used as marks borders among the villages the frangipani is commonly planted in graveyard. To Javanese it said to bear a bad luck therefore we never see residential compound is planted with kamboja. Interestingly unlike in Java, in Bali frangipany is considered holy. The Balinese use frangipani for religious ritual and celebrations. The tree is planted in sacred places such as Pura.

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