Sri Lankan Folklore: Mohini

Sri Lankan Folklore
Image: Wales Online

There is no shortage of Fortune Tellers and Astrologers in Sri Lanka. The young generation is getting out of the habit of being in constant consultation with the stars, crystal balls and myths, yet we still have got mythical characters who can raise the hair on the back of your neck. This is another example of amusing superstitions that thrive on our island taking hapless villagers as victims.

Although now fading, such superstitions had been a substantial part of our rich Sri Lankan culture and there are a few popular beliefs which have been passed down many generations. Certainly, the way of thinking has changed in the 21st century and many of these myths have been no longer believed by majority of Sri Lankans.

While growing up, most middle-aged Sri Lankans had known about a beautiful mysterious woman, who is always clad in white. Her tale has many different versions, yet most can agree on certain factors. Apart from the fact that she always dresses in white, she carries a baby, appears in isolated spots and is extremely beautiful.

A popular myth was originated from this story. When people, especially young men are walking alone at night she will suddenly appear, carrying an infant in her hands. Cradling the babe in her arms, she would try to tie her loose garment, and then she would beg the traveler to hold the infant while she tightens the garment, the tale changes here. One belief is she kills her prey then and there and the other belief is she would suddenly disappear with the child and her frightened victim would soon develop a high fever, and go mad before dying an untimely death.

Many of the older generation of Sri Lankans grew up with the terror of summoning Mohini. After countless generations of Mohini stories, the myth is dying down.

Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle is full of many such folklore and tales – stay at one of our Hotels in Dambulla to fully experience such paranormal stories.