Banyuwangi is a name of a district in the province of east Java, Indonesia. It is located in the earternmost part of the island of Java, next to Bali. Bali strait is between Banyuwangi and the island of Bali. The culture of Banyuwangi is unique because it is a blend of Javanese, Balinese and Madurese influence. Here is a well known legend about Banyuwangi.
Long time ago Banyuwangi was called Blambangan. It was a kingdom under a wise king who had a handsome and smart son. Raden Banterang was his name. He liked hunting very much. He often went to forest around Blambangan to hunt for animals. One day when he was in a forest he saw a deer. He chased it and the deer ran deeper into the forest. His horse was so good and strong that he left his guards behind. Unfortunately he lost the deer. As he took a rest under a big banyan tree suddenly a lovely lady appeared in front of him. Raden Banterang was very surprised to see a beautiful girl alone in the forest. He was suspicious that she was not a human being. So he asked her.
'Excuse me lovely lady, do you live around here?'
'No, I don't. I'm from Klungkung, Bali. My name is Surati. I'm a princess, the daughter of the king of Klungkung. I need your help'
'I will gladly help you, but please tell me what your problem is'
'I'm in danger. There was a rebellion in Klungkung. The rebel killed my father but I could escape. My guards took me here but I lose them. Now I'm alone. I don't know where to go. I have no relative here. Please help me'
'You are coming to the right person. I'm prince Banterang from the kingdom of Blambangan. I will protect you. Please come with me.'
Then Raden Banterang took Surati home. He fell in love with her and then several months later he married her. One day when Surati was in the street he met a man. The man called him.
She was surprised to realize that the man was her brother Rupaksa. Rupaksa told her that it was Raden Banterang who killed their father. He came to Blambangan to take revenge and asked surati to join him. Surati was shocked but she refused to join.
'I'm really shocked to hear the news. But I'm not sure. Raden Banterang is now my husband. He's very kind to me. He never hurts me. He's protecting me. As a good wife I will never betray him. It is my duty to serve him.'
'But he killed our father'.
'It is hard for me to believe it. When I met him he was here, not in Klungkung'
Rupaksa was disappointed with her sister. He was also very angry to her.
'OK then. I have to go now. But please keep my head dress. Put it under your pillow'
Rupaksa gave his head dress to his sister Surati. To respect her older brother Surati put it under her pillow. Several days later Raden Banterang was hunting in a forest when he met a man that looked like a priest. The man greeted him politely. Then he said something.
'Your life is in danger. Someone has an evil intention to you'
'Who is he?'
"Your wife Surati'
"Surati? How do you know?'
'I am a priest. I have clear spiritual vision. I just want to save you. Search her room. If you find a head dress under her pillow then my words are correct. It is from a man who will help her kill you'
'Thank you your Holiness'
Raden Banterang was shocked. He was very angry to his wife then he immediately went home. When he got to the palace he immediately searched Surati's bed room. As he found the head dress under her pillow he was sure that the priest was right.
'You are unfaithful wife. I know that you want me dead. This is the evidence. This is from a man who will help you kill me. Tell me who he is'
Surati was shocked and cried.
'It is my brother's head dress. I met him several days ago when you went hunting. He gave me his head dress and told me to put it under my pillow. So I put it there to respect him. It is him who want to kill you, not me'
But Raden Banterang did not trust her. He gave her a death sentence. He took his wife to a river bank as he would stab his wife and throw her body into the river.
'Before I die, let me say a few words'
'After I die, just throw my body into the river. If the water become dirty and smelly, it means that I am guilty. But if the water become clear and fragrance come out of it, it means that I am innocence'.
Then as Raden Banterang would stab her wife with a kris Surati threw herself into the river. Amazingly the water became clear and fragrance came out of it. Surati was innocent! Raden Banterang regretted his emotional behavior. Since then on he changed the name of his kingdom into Banyuwangi. Banyu means water and Wangi menas fragrance.