The Bali Break-Up Curse

Culture | Written By, Sachi Kondo |

Planning a romantic holiday normally entails the thrill of chasing idyllic destinations and intimate activities. Thanks to a folktale circulating online, the Bali ‘breakup curse’ is digested as more than just a myth. It has seen couples discarding travel plans, dismissing the true beauty of the island. Have you come across stories about the couple’s curse?

Bali is on the map of love for many reasons. Upon hearing about this so-called curse, some couples turn a blind eye whilst others react in terror and proceed with caution, yearning to debunk the urban myth. Enquiries from unsettled honeymooners bombard online search engines and forums setting off a chain of online Chinese whispers.

The belief is that unmarried couples who travel to Bali are doomed to split six months after their departure from the island. According to ancient lore, a Prince and Princess from the Brahman caste, the highest order of the Hindu social strata, visited Bali from neighbouring Java and spent time at the legendary Tanah Lot Temple. Besotted with each other and the alluring sunset over the black sand coast, the two shared an intimate bond for the first time. Soon after their intimate escape, the Prince refused to wed her, even after having deflowered her, then disappeared. Anguished and enraged, the Princess cast a curse to damn unmarried couples who step foot on the island.

Though some believe the spell is confined to the grounds of Tanah Lot, hearing the myth around Bali being a ‘breakup island’ is now common. Couples in the past attested online to have lived through the curse, but countless others lightly brushed it off as ‘life’. Others say that couples who stay celibate during their sojourn will leave unscathed.

Bali natives claim the story was born as a warning to young, unwed couples against pre-marital sex; and to drive away young lovers spending their ‘Saturday night’ within the vicinity of holy grounds. One source said oftentimes youngsters bring their partners to Tanah Lot to enjoy the view at night but end up disrespecting the sacred temple and getting washed away by the strong current.

Whether one chooses to feed into the allegory or not, the demise of a relationship surely bears deeper ties than a trip to a supposedly cursed destination.

Another ‘couple’s curse’ to look out for, dear skeptics and believers, is the myth that non-Balinese couples who tie the knot on Balinese soil will yield an undesirable ending. Legend has it, Bali, here treated as an entity, only bestows ‘nuptial blessings’ to those native to the island. Newcomers’ are not seen as rightful island-dwellers, hence disapproved by the gods protecting Bali. This means holy matrimonies, in the eyes of Bali, are considered null and void! Victims of failed marriages are made to believe this myth to be the culprit of a bad ending, however local sources have dispelled it as simply an ill-intended myth with no origin story in Balinese culture.

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